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OF    THE     LIFE    OF 


//.  R.S.A. ,    LL.D. 


Etcbea  3y  Himself. 





/y.R.S.A.,  LL.D.  // 

And  Notices  of  his  Artistic  and  Poetic 

Circle  of  Friends 

1830  to   1882 

Edited  by  W.   MINTO 

lllnstrated  by  Etchings  by  Himselj 
and  Reproductions  of  Sketches  by  Himself  and  Friends 

VOL.   II 


45   Albemarle  Street,  W. 

All  rights  7-cserved 



Dr.  Sa:muel  Brown — Sir  Walter  and  Lady  Trevelyan 
AND  MY  Pictures  at  Wallington — John  Ruskin 


First  Appearance  of  A.  C.  Swinburne — An  Amusing 
Experience  with  Thomas  Carlyle — Death  of 
Dr.   Samuel  Brown  .  .  .14 


Resume  OF  Letters  from  Friends  in  London,  1856-58 

— Additions  to  the  Circle  there     .  .28 


Resume  of  Letters  from  Friends,  1859-60-61 — The 
Rossettis,  Holman  Hunt,  Woolner,  Munro, 
etc. — Lady  Trevelyan — Miss  Boyd    .  .  46 




Death  of  Mrs.  Rossetti — Anecdotes  of  Wallington 
— My  Series  of  Pictures  of  Border  History 

BEING    finished,     I     LEAVE     NEWCASTLE ReTURN 

to  London  .  .  .  .64 


Penkill  Castle  and  Miss  Boyd — Death  of  Spencer 
Boyd  —  My  Painting  of  the  Staircase  — 
Maclise       .  .  .  .  -73 


Letters  from  Holman  Hunt,  Jerusalem,  1870-71    .  88 


1868  to  1870 — My  "King's  Quair"  Pictures  at 
Penkill    finished — D.  G.  R.  spends  Autumns 

1868-69    there    with    us recommences    his 

Poetic  Studies — The  Franco-German  War — 
My  Removal  to  92  Cheyne  Walk,  September 
1870  .....        107 


Letters  from  D.  G.  Rossetti,  Autumn  1871,  at 
Kelmscott  —  On  his  own  Poetry  then  in 
Progress — Also  on  Mine      .  .  .127 





1 8  7  2 — RossETTi's  Illness — Stobhall 


1873— ^iY    LAST  VISIT    TO   ItaLY— Dr.    FrANZ   HuEFFER 

— F.  M.   Brown        .  .  .  .182 


The  Rising  Generation  in  Poetry,    1875   .  .        193 


My    Poems    published    1875 — Alma    Tadema — My 
"  Dedicatio  Postica  " 


HoLMAN  Hunt's  Picture  "The  Flight  into  Egypt," 


Spiritualism         .  .  .  .  -235 


Death  of  G.  H.  Lewes  and  George  Eliot  —  Of 
R.  N.  Wornum  —  Of  Sir  Walter  Trevelyan 
AND  Lady  Pauline  ....        244 




More    Deaths — Thomas    Dixon    of    Sunderland — 

Richard  Burchett — Solomon  Hart  .  .264 

Artistic  Inquiries,   1879-80  .  .  .278 


Penkill — IB     (Miss    Boyd),    1880  .  .  .291 

CHAPTER    XX  and  Last 
My  "Poet's  Harvest  Home" — Death  of  Rossetti         303 


Concluding  Chapter  by  Editor    .  .  .321 


VOL.    II 


Portrait  of  Author.      Profile.      Etching  by  himself      .         Froniispiece 
A.  C.  Swinburne.      Ef thing  by  IV.  B.  S.  .  To  face  page  i8 

Miss  Bo)'d.     Drawn  by  D.  G.  R.     Etched  by  W.  B.  S. 
Penkill  Castle.      PJiotogT'avure         .  .  .  . 

Staircase  of  Penkill.     From  a  pai?iting  by  A.  Hughes 
Design  for  Door,  South  Kensington.     By  W.  B.  S. 
Fireplace,  etc.,  at  Stobhall.     By  IV.  B.  S. 
Exterior  of  Hall,  Penkill.      Photogravure 
Interior  of  Hall.     From  a  painting  by  A.  Hughes 
Bedroom  in  Penkill  Castle.      Phoiosrravure 








"  Mr.  Porcupine."      Sketch  by  Lady  Pauline  Trevelyan  .  page  52 

Roll  Moulding,   Penkill  Castle „      74 

D.  G.  R.  in  Bennan's  Cave.      Sketch  by  IV.  B.  S.       .  .  ,,115 

Human-headed  Vases.     Sketch  by  VV.  B.  S.       .          .  .  ,,289 

In  the  Glen  at  Penkill.      Sketch  by  H.  A.  Bowler       .  .  ,,   296 

Monograms  of  Scotch  Lawyers  in  i6th  Century          .  .  ,,   301 


DR.     SAMUEL     BROWN SIR     WALTER    AND     LADY    TRE- 


Notwithstanding  my  reluctance  to  re-enter  Edin- 
burgh, I  had  many  occasions  to  go  there,  and  to  find 
myself  among  friends.  One  of  these  most  pleasant 
to  meet  was  Samuel  Brown,  who  had  established  his 
laboratory  in  suburban  Portobello.  His  physical 
science  repudiated  my  poem  The  Year  of  the 
World,  or  rather,  I  should  say,  discredited  the 
perfectibility  of  the  human  creature,  although  it 
carried  him  in  his  own  theories  any  length  in 
ameliorating  the  conditions  of  the  body !  As  years 
passed  on  his  health  prevented  his  working  and 
deprived  him  of  the  mental  exuberance  so  exciting 
and  amusing  in  earlier  life,  and  he,  like  so  many 
others,  returned  to  his  native  lair  to  die.  His  and 
my  brother's  latest  literary  circle  gradually  broke 
up  ;  he  saw  nothing  of  Professor  Nichol,  De  Ouincey, 

^'VOL.   II  B 


and  even  of  Gilfillan,  and  other  younger  men  ;  and 
his  most  assiduous  friend  Mrs.  Crowe,  whose  cares 
for  him  were  almost  as  great  as  those  of  his  devoted 
wife,  disappeared  from  Edinburgh  through  a  deeper 
species  of  malady  than  even  his  own.  The  Night 
Side  of  Nature  and  the  Seeress  of  Prcvorst  had 
taken  too  strong  a  hold  of  her  mind,  quick  and 
active  as  it  was  ;  her  faith  in  new  and  unknown 
conditions  of  life  suspended  that  in  the  ordinary  laws 
of  nature.  Still  she  was  constant  to  Samuel  Brown, 
her  bodily  strength  being  unimpaired,  till  one 
Sunday  morning,  leaving  her  bed,  she  quietly  escaped 
the  observation  of  her  attendants,  and  armed  only 
with  a  card  in  her  hand  inscribed  with  three  mystical 
marks  which  she  believed  rendered  her  invisible, 
sallied  out  to  visit  him.  Fortunately  it  was  a  Scotch 
Sabbath-day,  not  a  soul  was  within  sight.  She  had 
gone  but  a  few  steps  in  George  Street,  not  far  from 
her  own  door,  when  she  was  met  by  an  astonished 
medical  friend  known  to  both,  who  threw  over  her 
his  top-coat  and  took  her  back  to  her  house.  This 
was  the  painful  gossip  of  the  time,  and  in  effect  this 
lady,  so  much  respected  by  the  Edinburgh  literary 
coteries,  vanished  from  among  them.  In  fact, 
except  Samuel's  cousin,  Dr.  John  Brown,  the  author 
of  Rab  and  his  Friends  and  much  else  ;  and  some 
early  friends — Ballantine,  Steell,  now  Sir  John,  the 
sculptor,  Sir  William  Harvey,  the  painter  of 
Covenanter  celebrity — I  knew  so  few  that  I  could 
walk  the  streets  a  whole  day  without  being 


De  Quincey  was  the  last  left  of  the  illustrious 
literati  of  the  previous  generation,  and  he  had 
become  more  and  more  erratic  in  his  habits.  I 
have  always  found  original  genius  of  a  concentrated 
and  peculiar  kind  the  most  dangerous  endowment ; 
it  is  only  the  Shakespeare  or  the  Goethe  who  can 
carry  out  unalloyed  the  specific  energy,  and  retain 
manhood  and  rational  common  sense  in  all  the 
affairs  of  life  ;  poets  like  Byron  or  Shelley  could  not 
do  so. 

However,  this  chajDter  is  intended  to  deal  with 
other  matters,  and  I  introduced  Dr.  Samuel  Brown, 
not  to  describe  his  circle,  but  because  he  was  the 
means  of  bringing  me  into  communication  with  the 
Trevelyans,  my  dear  and  helpful  friends  of  so  many 
years.  Sir  Walter  and  Lady  Trevelyan  were  among 
the  admirers  of  Samuel  Brown,  and  at  his  desire 
she  wrote  the  review  that  appeared  in  the  Scotsman 
newspaper  of  my  Memoir  of  my  brother  David. 
When  my  little  book  of  poems  {Poems  by  a  Painter) 
was  published  in  1854,  I  sent  it  to  Sir  Walter,  at 
Wallington  Hall,  a  large  modern  mansion  near 
Morpeth  which  they  preferred  to  Nettlecombe 
Court,  their  lovely  Elizabethan  house  in  Somerset. 
I  received  in  reply  a  pressing  invitation  to  visit 

It  was  a  long  drive  at  that  time  after  alighting 
from  the  railway  at  Morpeth.  About  midday,  as  I 
approached  the  house,  the  door  was  opened,  and 
there  stepped  out  a  little  woman  as  light  as  a  feather 
and  as  quick  as  a  kitten,  habited  for  gardening  in  a 


broad  straw  hat  and  gauntlet  gloves,  with  a  basket 
on  her  arm,  visibly  the  mistress  of  the  place.  The 
face  was  one  that  would  be  charming  to  some  and 
distasteful  to  others,  and  might  in  the  same  way- 
be  called  rather  plain  or  rather  handsome,  as  the 
observer  was  sympathetic  or  otherwise.  In  a  very 
few  minutes  the  verdict  would  be  understood  and 
confirmed  by  the  lady,  whose  penetration  made  her 
a  little  feared.  This  habit  of  looking  well  at  a 
stranger  and  concluding  correctly  about  him  has 
always  been  fascinating  to  me,  even  when  seasoned 
with  the  mild  satire  generally  associated  with 
penetration.  Why  not  enliven  life  by  that  play, 
innocent  on  the  tongue  of  the  amiable,  mild  in  the 
hands  of  a  lady  who  knew  reply  was  out  of  court, 
and  beneficial  too  from  so  trenchant  an  observer  as 
the  possessor  of  the  hazel  eyes  that  saw  through 
one  and  made  him  careful  to  avoid  affectation  of  any 
complexion,  such  care  being  his  only  safety  in  the 
interview  ? 

Lady  Trevelyan  said  she  was  going  to  look  at 
her  own  garden,  and  asked  whether  I  would  accom- 
pany her,  or  enter  and  make  myself  known  to  the 
familiar  of  the  family,  Mr.  Wooster,  the  only  inmate 
at  that  moment,  Sir  Walter  having  been  called  from 
home  at  an  hour's  notice.  I  went  with  her  and  in 
half  an  hour  we  were  old  friends  ;  she  had  asked 
many  questions,  and  received  the  directest  and 
truest  answers.  In  each  case  she  showed  that  she 
liked  my  plain  speech  and  recognised  it  to  be 
genuine   and   unconventional,  and   in  her  own  way 


felt  grateful  and  pleased.  Walking  on  from  one 
spot  to  another,  she  made  me  acquainted  with 
various  picturesque  features  and  little  nooks  she  had 
sketched,  with  the  bulrushes  and  water-lilies.  I 
rowed  her  across  one  of  the  artificial  ponds  before 
we  returned  and  entered  the  house. 

It  was  fortunate  that  I  had  Lady  Trevelyan 
these  few  days  all  to  myself,  Sir  Walter  being  so 
difficult  to  become  acquainted  with.  Not  that  he 
drew  a  line  round  himself  as  many  do  whose  only 
recommendation  in  the  world  lies  in  their  beloneinsfs, 
but  he  was  a  man  of  few  words,  and  many  un- 
acknowledged peculiarities.  Inheritor  too  of  the 
bluest  blood,  his  name,  spelt  the  same  as  now,  being 
in  the  Doomsday-book  for  the  same  Devonshire 
property  the  family  still  possess,  though  a  Whig  by 
descent  and  a  philosophical  leveller  in  some  respects 
by  inclination,  the  inherited  habits  of  thirty  genera- 
tions were  not  to  be  cast  aside. 

With  all  Lady  Trevelyan's  discrimination  in  art 
matters  and  acquaintance  with  the  works  of  old  masters 
and  with  living  modern  artists,  she  had  not  risen  above 
the  Turner  mania  ;  and  the  exponent  of  Turner,  Mr. 
Ruskin,  I  soon  found,  held  an  overpowering  influence 
over  her.  Many  incidents  had  conduced  to  this.  She 
had  taken  his  part  before,  and  was  now  prepared 
indignantly  to  stand  by  him  again.  At  Oxford  she 
had  been  especially  amused  by  some  of  the  dons 
confessing  to  her  they  had  hoped  better  things  of 
him  than  his  present  course  indicated,  spending  his 
time  writing  about  pictures  ! 


Wallington  House  had  been  a  quadrangle,  but 
the  interior  court,  open  to  the  sky,  had  been  long 
found  productive  of  only  damp  and  cold,  and  Dob- 
son,  the  architect  of  so  many  able  works  in  the  North 
of  England,  turned  this  blind  space  into  a  saloon  by 
opening  the  walls  into  arcades  and  covering  the 
whole  by  a  coffered  roof.  Paved  and  surrounded 
by  hot-water  pipes,  the  whole  house  was  made  com- 
fortable and  a  place  provided  for  pictures  and 
decoration,  which  I  was  to  supply.  When  this  was 
determined  on  in  the  beginning  of  1856  I  drew  out 
a  scheme,  and  Lady  Trevelyan  prevailed  on  me  to 
consult  Mr.  Ruskin,  which  I  did  with  strong  mis- 
giving. I  sent  him  a  sketch  of  a  compartment, 
telling  him  at  whose  instance  I  had  done  so,  wishing 
him  to  think  over  the  scheme  and  give  us  such 
suggestions  as  might  occur  to  him.  His  reply 
was  not  very  useful,  but  such  as  it  was  I  may  enter 
it  here.  My  design  was  that  the  lower  pilasters 
between  the  pictures  should  be  filled  by  tall  plants — 
as  foxglove,  bulrush,  corn  of  different  kinds,  and  so 
forth — painted  on  the  stone,  and  the  spandrels  with 
spreading  foliage  of  native  trees — oak,  lime,  elm, 
and  others, — the  upper  tier  of  pilasters  to  be  only 
panelled,  and  the  spandrels  decorated  sparingly  with 
grotesques  as  they  approached  the  ceiling,  which 
was  rich  in  stuccoed  Roman  mouldings  and  pateras. 
In  a  few  days  Lady  Trevelyan,  then  [May  1856] 
living  at  Tynemouth,  enclosed  his  answer,  saying, 
"  The  enclosed  came  yesterday.  Mr.  Ruskin  was 
at  Amiens  when  he  wrote,  on  his  way  to  Geneva. 

MR.    RUSK  IN 

He  was  quite  knocked  up,  and  is  obliged  to  be 
absolutely  idle  for  some  time.  He  says  in  his 
letter  to  me  that  even  if  he  were  well  he  does  not 
think  he  could  help  us.  He  likes  the  plan  very 

Dear  Mr.  Scott — I  am  quite  voived  to  idleness  for 
a  couple  of  months  at  least,  and  cannot  think  over 
the  plan  you  send.  I  am  as  much  in  a  fix  as  you  are 
about  interior  decoration,  but  incline  to  the  All  Nature  in 
the  present  case,  if  but  for  an  experiment.  The  worst  of 
nature  is  that  when  she  is  chipped  or  dirty  she  looks  so 
very  uncomfortable,  which  Arabesque  don't.  Mind  you 
must  make  her  uncommonly  stiff.  I  shall  most  likely 
come  down  and  have  a  look  when  I  come  back  in 

So  get  on  that  I  may  have  plenty  to  find  fault  with, 
for  that,  I  believe,  is  all  I  can  do.  Help  you  I  can't. — 
But  am  always,  truly  yours,  J.  RUSKIN. 

I  did  get  on,  beginning  the  series  of  pictures 
with  the  "  Building  of  the  Wall  of  Hadrian  "  ;  ^  and 
in  the  autumn,  visiting  London,  I  willingly  agreed 
to  go  to  him  if  he  would  let  me,  expecting  much 
pleasure,  if  not  also  advantage,  from  listening  to  the 

1  [This  seems  to  be  a  slip  of  memory.  At  least  the  first  of  the 
series  to  be  completed  and  exhibited  was  "  St.  Cuthbert  on  Fame 
Island,"  which  was  exhibited  in  the  rooms  of  the  Literary  Society  at 
Newcastle  in  November  1856.  "The  Building  of  the  Roman  Wall 
was  exhibited  in  July  1857,  and  the  remaining  six  appeared  at  regular 
intervals  in  the  following  order,  "  The  Death  of  Bede,"  "  Danes 
descending  on  the  Coast  at  Tynemouth,"  "  The  Spur  in  the  Dish," 
"Bernard  Gilpin,"  "Grace  Darling,"  "Iron  and  Coal."  The  whole 
series  of  eight  pictures  was  exhibited  at  the  French  Gallery  in  Pall 
Mall  at  the  end  of  June  1861.  References  to  the  various  pictures, 
as  in  the  course  of  composition,  occur  in  the  subsequent  notes  and 
letters. — Ed.] 


most  eloquent  writer  and  most  enthusiastic  hero- 
worshipper  of  this  or  perhaps  of  any  age.  On 
reaching  town  I  found  an  invitation  to  dine  at 
Camberwell,  the  note  saying  that  he  "  understood  I 
wished  to  gain  some  information  about  the  teaching 
pursued  at  the  Working  Man's  College,"  which  we 
could  visit  afterwards.  He  knew  I  was  attached  to 
the  Department  of  Art ;  indeed  the  note  was  ad- 
dressed there.  The  Working  Man's  College  re- 
pudiated every  point  of  the  curriculum  of  the 
Government  system,  and  there  was  an  impertinent 
jealousy  in  the  mind  of  every  one  of  the  teachers, 
all  volunteers  as  they  were,  carrying  on  the  art 
classes  at  that  unendowed  seminary.  I  felt  it  neces- 
sary to  answer  that  this  was  a  mistake,  at  least  in 
any  particular  way ;  that  Lady  Trevelyan  wished 
me  to  make  his  acquaintance  ;  but  if  he  liked  in  a 
friendly  manner  to  receive  me  on  that  ground,  I 
should  be  very  pleased  to  accept  his  invitation,  and 
to  accompany  him  afterwards  to  Red  Lion  Square, 
the  evening  in  question  being  his  evening  there.  I 
mentioned  this  to  Rossetti,  who  volunteered  to  go 
with  me  self-invited. 

These  particulars  and  the  others  following  are 
of  little  value,  but  are  necessary  to  make  my  future 
relation  to  Mr.  Ruskin  understood  ;  he  may  never, 
however,  be  mentioned  in  future  pages.  There  are 
natures  sympathetic  to  each  other,  and  there  are 
others  antipathetic.  I  endeavoured  to  be  very 
modest,  and  tried  to  be  agreeable,  but  it  was  of  no 
use.      I   had  sent  him  my  little  volume  of  poems  at 


the  lady's  desire,  and  D.  G.  R.  asked  him  what 
he  thought  of  the  book  ;  he  pretended  to  be  surprised 
it  was  mine.  His  late  visit  to  Edinburgh  led  us  to 
talk  of  Scottish  artists,  when  he  mentioned  David 
Scott,  some  of  whose  works  had  been  pointed  out 
to  him.  He  thought  they  possessed  some  quality  in 
colour,  but  nothing  else,  though  he  believed  the  artist 
had  valued  himself  on  quite  other  qualities  !  "  Scott's 
brother,  you  mean,"  suggested  D.  G.  R.,  whereat 
he  again  simulated  surprise.  This  was  still  followed 
by  some  other  supercilious  pretence,  and  I  could 
bear  him  no  longer,  thought  I  would  have  a  good- 
humoured  reprisal,  and  the  conversation  turning 
soon,  of  course,  on  Turner,  I  said  the  evidence  of 
the  personality  and  talk  of  a  man  was  in  the  most 
of  cases  conclusive  as  to  the  character  of  his  works, 
and  I  told  Thomson  of  Duddingston's  anecdote 
of  his  "  introdoocing  a  bit  of  sentiment"  into  the 
view  of  the  place  where  Harold  Harefoot  fell  [see 
vol.  i.  p.  84].  At  this  Gabriel  laughed,  and  asked 
him  if  Turner  really  talked  in  that  way,  and  how 
he  got  over  that  sort  of  thing.  The  poisonous 
expression  of  his  face  was  a  study.  His  hero- 
worship  of  Turner  was  not  an  affectation  at  all ; 
but  his  overpowering  passion  in  talk  as  in  writing 
was  a  determination  to  find  out  qualities  no  one 
else  could  see,  and  to  contradict  or  ignore  those 
evident  to  every  one  else. 

We  drove  in  to  Red  Lion  Square,  and  here  I 
found  drawing  from  copies  as  preliminary  practice, 
drawing  from  beautiful  ornamental  objects  or  human 


figures — everything  indeed  to  be  seen  in  academic 
or  Government  schools  of  art  practice — ignored.  I 
remembered  F.  M.  Brown's  class  in  Camden  Town, 
where  all  the  pupils  were  drawing  from  wood-shavings. 
Instead  of  these,  here  every  one  was  trying  to  put 
on  small  pieces  of  paper  imitations  by  pen  and  ink  of 
pieces  of  rough  stick  crusted  with  dry  lichens  !  He 
drew  my  attention  to  the  beauty  of  these  as  giving 
the  pupils  a  love  of  "  nature"  !  but  I  suppressed  my 
expression  of  dissent  in  the  presence  of  the  young 
men.  What  astonished  me  was  Rossetti's  abetting 
of  such  frightful  waste  of  time,  especially  as  I  found 
W^oolner,  who  had  a  modelling  class,  teaching  the 
human  figure. 

I  came  away  feeling  that  such  pretence  of  educa- 
tion was  in  a  high  degree  criminal ;  it  was  intellectual 
murder ;  not  one  of  the  young  men  who  attended 
at  the  Working  Man's  College  ever  acquired  any 
power  of  drawing.  The  only  one  who  could  ever 
be  quoted  was  employed  by  Ruskin  to  copy  Turner's 
drawings,  which  he  could  do  before  he  entered  the 
class  ;  he  copied  them  by  elaborate  stippling,  cover- 
ing an  inch  or  so  in  a  day!  I  found  Miss  Siddal 
was  then  in  the  South  of  France  for  her  health, 
Ruskin  having  persuaded  her  to  go.  His  wealth 
and  entire  carelessness  about  it  enabled  him  to  do 
very  kind  things,  and  this  was  the  cause  of  his 
influence  as  much  as  his  rhetorical  genius.  In  a 
letter  a  short  time  before,  D.  G.  R.  had  told  me 
about  his  volunteering  at  the  Working  Man's  College. 
"You  think   I    have  turned   humanitarian   perhaps, 

MR.  R  US  KIN 

but  you  should  see  my  class  for  the  model !  None 
of  your  Freehand  Drawing- Books  used.  The  British 
mind  is  brought  to  bear  on  the  British  mug  at  once, 
and  with  results  that  would  astonish  you,"  This 
was  what  any  one  would  have  expected  from  him, 
the  British  vmg  being  interpreted  living  model ! 
and  walking  home  I  reminded  him  of  this  letter, 
but  I  did  not  find  him  communicative  or  even  ex- 
planatory. I  concluded  he  planted  himself  into  the 
party  that  evening  just  to  see  and  hear  what  passed 
when  I  was  face  to  face  with  Ruskin  and  the  class 
drawing  from  bits  of  stick.  He  was  my  dearest 
and,  I  may  say,  most  attached  friend,  my  admiration 
in  poetry  and,  to  some  degree,  in  art  too  ;  but  I 
wished  he  could  or  would  act  and  speak  in  a  more 
manly  and  ingenuous  manner.  Why  could  he  not 
have  acknowledged  Ruskin's  liberality  to  Lizzie 
Siddal,  and  yet  objected  to  etching  with  a  pen  from 
lichenous  sticks ! 

Let  me  finish  here  with  Mr.  Ruskin.  In  1861  I 
think  it  was,  after  the  last  of  my  eight  pictures  was 
placed,  and  instead  of  arabesques  on  spandrels  of 
the  upper  circle  of  arches  in  the  hall,  Sir  Walter 
had  agreed  to  my  painting  eighteen  scenes  from 
the  ballad  of  CJievy  Chase,  Ruskin,  who  had  not 
been  there  since  his  eventful  visit  with  his  wife  and 
Millais,  at  last  accomplished  his  visit  to  paint  one  of 
the  pilasters.  Lady  Trevelyan  had  kept  for  him 
the  great  white  lily,  commonly  called  the  Annuncia- 
tion Lily,  but  the  modesty  of  the  professor  would 
not  allow  him  to  take  that  sacred  flower.     No  ;  he 


would  take  the  humblest — the  nettle !  Ultimately 
wheat,  barley,  and  other  corn,  with  the  cockle  and 
other  wild  things  of  the  harvest-field,  were  selected, 
and  he  began,  surrounded  by  admiring  ladies.  Miss 
Stewart  Mackenzie,  then  on  the  eve  of  her  marriage 
with  Lord  Ashburton,  and  others  being  guests  at 
the  time.  At  dinner  we  heard  a  good  deal  about 
the  proficiency  of  the  pupils  at  the  Working  Man's 
College,  and  next  morning  he  appeared  with  his 
hands  full  of  pen-and-ink  minute  etchings  of  single 
ivy  leaves  the  size  of  nature,  one  of  which  he  en- 
trusted to  each  lady  as  if  they  had  been  the  most 
precious  things  in  the  world.  He  took  no  notice  of 
me,  the  representative  of  the  Government  schools. 
I  could  stand  by  no  longer.  He  had  been  giving 
lessons  on  drawing,  had  set  Miss  Mackenzie  to 
draw  a  table,  prohibiting  her  to  make  a  preliminary 
general  sketch,  but  directing  her  to  begin  at  one 
corner  and  finish  as  she  went  on  ;  this  being  next  to 
impossible,  she  had  applied  to  me,  but  I  had  declined 
to  interfere.  Now  I  could  not  remain  silent,  so  I 
gave  them  a  little  lecture  on  the  orthodox  method  of 
teaching  and  the  proper  objects  to  be  used  as  models, 
and  in  a  very  cool,  confident  way  showed  the  sensible 
women,  as  they  all  were,  that  spending  so  much 
time  niggling  over  a  small  fiat  object  with  a  pen  was 
teaching  nothing,  but  ruining  the  student  for  any 
application  of  art  except  that  of  retouching  and 
spoiling  photograph  card  portraits.  I  asserted  that 
long  practical  knowledge  made  me  certain  of  what  I 
said,  and  I  appealed  to  him  to  tell  us  if  he  had  ever 


found  any  young  man  apply  what  he  had  thus 
learned  to  any  purpose  whatever  ?  The  revulsion 
in  the  minds  of  my  audience  was  visible  at  once  ; 
he  grinned  in  contemptuous  silence.  The  subject 
was  dropped. 





By  midsummer  of  the  year  after  I  received  my  com- 
mission to  paint  the  eight  pictures  at  WalHngton/ 
I  had  got  the  two  ladies,  Lady  Trevelyan  and  Miss 
Capel  Lofft,  fully  interested  and  occupied  on  the 
decorative  portions  of  the  saloon  work,  and  my  first 
picture  was  in  its  place.  They  worked  under  my 
direction,  so  that  I  was  very  frequently  in  that 
quarter,  and  very  soon  I  began  to  recognise  a  little 
fellow  who  used  to  pass  my  post-chaise  on  the  road 
descending  from  Cambo  to  Wallington.  He  was 
always  riding  a  little  long-tailed  pony  at  a  good  pace 
towards  the  village.  He  had  the  appearance  of  a 
boy,  but  for  a  certain  mature  expression  on  his 
handsome  high-bred  face,  which  had  bright,  coarse 
yellow  hair  flowing  on  his  shoulders,  and  flashing 
out  round  his  head.  On  his  saddle  was  strapped  a 
bundle  of  books   like   those   of  a  schoolboy.      He 

1  [i.e.  in  1857. — Ed.] 

CHAP.  II  A.    C.    SWINBURNE  15 

recognised  me  as  quickly  as  I  did  him,  and  the  con- 
scious look  he  gave  in  passing  raised  my  curiosity, 
which  was  soon  gratified  by  finding  him  one  day 
kissing  his  hand  to  Lady  Trevelyan  at  the  door  of 
the  Hall,  and  by  my  learning  that  he  was  the  grand- 
son of  a  neighbouring  baronet,  Sir  John  Swinburne, 
and  was  now  spending  his  school  recess  at  Capheaton, 
his  grandfather's  house,  whence  he  rode  over  to  read 
with  the  incumbent  at  Cambo. 

Cambo  was  a  very  little  village  on  the  top  of  an 
ascent  of  a  mile  from  Wallington,  with  an  inn  ex- 
hibiting a  swinging  signboard  which  gave  it  the 
name  of  the  Queens,  as  it  showed  on  the  south  side 
the  head  of  Queen  Elizabeth  painted  by  Lady 
Trevelyan,  and  on  the  other  towards  the  north  that 
of  jMary  of  Scots  by  Miss  Capel  Lofft.  Many  a 
pedestrian  and  disciple  of  Isaac  Walton  knew  this 
sign,  and  remembered  it  as  a  deception  and  a  snare  ; 
as  no  beverage  but  tea,  coffee,  and  ginger-beer — the 
best  of  things,  but  not  to  their  liking — was  to  be 
had  within  this  temperance  hostelry.  This  quietest 
of  villages  had  the  smallest  of  churches,  where  Sir 
Walter  read  the  lessons  from  his  own  pew,  and  the 
amiable  clergyman,  Algernon  s  tutor,  went  through 
all  the  forms  the  same  as  if  he  had  had  an  audience 
of  five  hundred ;  suffering,  too,  from  a  nervous 
agitation  when  he  mounted  the  pulpit  that  made 
him  catch  his  breath  and  hem  between  the  sentences. 
He  used  to  dine  every  now  and  then  at  the  great 
house,  where  Lady  Trevelyan,  who  took  a  motherly 
care  of  Algernon,  used   to  ask   him  how  his   pupil 

i6  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

went  on,  receiving  always  the  same  answer,  that  he 
was  too  clever  and  never  would  study. 

Swinburne  must  have  been  at  this  time  about 
eio-hteen,  but  from  his  small  fio^ure  and  from  his 
boyish  style  of  manners,  though  he  had  been  at  a 
public  school  for  several  years  and  was  now  about  to 
enter  Balliol,  he  gave  the  impression,  as  said  before, 
of  greater  youth.  This  caused  him  to  be  so  treated, 
which  treatment,  again,  made  him  affect  to  be 
younger  than  he  was.  At  this  time,  and  long  after 
it,  he  could,  so  to  speak,  believe  what  he  liked,  or 
rather,  what  the  people  he  liked  chose  to  expect  to 
be  true.  He  had  got  a  prize  for  French,  which 
made  him  childishly  proud,  and,  indeed,  made  him 
all  his  life  delighted  with  that  tongue— the  most 
unfortunate  for  poetry — a  fact  it  was  impossible  for 
him  to  admit.  This  was,  I  think,  the  only  success 
he  made  at  school  or  college,  which  none  of  his 
intimate  friends  could  fathom,  as  he  was  able  to 
acquire  without  trouble,  and  had  a  memory  enabling 
him  to  recite  long  poems  by  once  reading.  When 
he  began  to  write  poetry,  which  he  was  always  fond 
of  reciting,  he  never  needed  to  carry  his  manuscript 
about  with  him  ! 

A  few  days  after  my  first  meeting  him  he  ap- 
peared with  the  prize -book,  entering  the  saloon 
where  we  were  all  at  work  hopping  on  one  foot,  his 
favourite  expression  of  extreme  delight.  It  was  a 
large  edition  of  Notre  Dame  de  Paj-is  gorgeously 
bound,  with  illustrations  by  Tony  Johannot ;  but  the 
exuberance  of  his  delic^ht  was  so  comical  that  even 

A.    C.   SWINBURNE  17 

Lady  Trevelyan  could  not  resist  a  smile,  and  Miss 
Capel  Lofft,  a  very  nervous  person,  begged  him  to 
sit  down  quietly  and  show  her  the  prints.  For  my 
part,  not  yet  recognising  in  this  unique  youth  the 
greatest  rhythmical  genius  of  English  poetry,  I 
looked  on  with  wonder  as  at  a  spoilt  child.  The 
whole  forenoon  that  book  was  never  out  of  his  sip-ht. 
If  it  lay  on  the  table  his  eyes  were  always  wandering 
to  it.  The  fascination  of  first  love  was  nothing  to 
this  fascination  ;  and  when  we  all  adjourned  for  an 
interval  to  the  garden,  there  it  w^as  tightly  held 
under  his  arm,  while  he  ran  on  before  backwards 
and  ran  back  to  us  again,  and  the  sharpest  of  eyes 
were  fixed  on  him  with  their  amused  but  maternal 

Can  it  have  been  that  this  school  prize-book,  the 
Notre  Dame  de  Paris,  made  Victor  Hugo  his  hero 
for  life  .^  I  do  not  mean  to  supfSfest  that  egotism 
was  the  key  to  his  feelings.  Far  from  that ;  he  was 
altogether  free  from  that  unamiable  selfishness.  And 
much  as  he  loved  and  admired  his  own  advantages, 
internal  or  external,  it  was  in  the  frankest  spirit 
of  admiring  what  was  good  ;  his  friends'  excellent 
qualities  were  equally  loved  and  admired.  He  had 
the  greatest  power  of  loving  his  friends,  and  bearing 
with  them.      His  enthusiasm  was  measureless. 

From  small  beginnings  great  results  arise.  From 
one  step  to  another,  his  own  natural  temperament 
impelling  him,  and  these  trifling  incidents  determin- 
ing its  direction,  the  Gallo-mania  that  has  been  the 
motif  in  so  much  of  his  writing  became  a  proclivity 

VOL.  II  c 

1 8  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

infecting  all  the  young  verse-writers  and  critics  of 
the  day.  The  sound  of  Swinburne's  verse,  which  is 
in  danger  of  becoming  tedious  by  his  unbounded 
facility  of  repeating  the  same  rhythm  exactly,  and 
the  Gallo-mania  associated  with  it,  have  been  the  two 
characteristics  of  this  decade  or  lono^er.  At  this 
moment  [1S77]  I  know  half  a  dozen  ambitious  and 
innocent  young  men  who  talk  of  the  literature  of  our 
neighbours  as  if  it  were  altogether  delightful,  and  as 
if  they,  each  one  of  them,  had  discovered  the  fact,  and 
that  Victor  Hugo,  too,  was  the  greatest  of  possible 
poets  and  mortals.  Was  it  all  because  Algernon 
Swinburne  when  a  boy  had  Notre  Dame  de  Paris 
presented  to  him  at  school  ? 

In  i860,  when  his  first  drama  was  published,  I 
painted  a  small  portrait  of  him  in  oil.  He  used  to 
come  in  and  live  with  us  in  Newcastle,  and  when  I 
was  out  or  engaged  he  was  to  be  seen  lying  before 
the  fire  with  a  mass  of  books  surrounding  him  like 
the  ruins  of  a  fortification,  all  of  which  he  had  read, 
and  could  quote  or  criticise  correctly  and  acutely 
many  years  after.  This  portrait  used  to  arrest  him 
long  afterwards,  when  he  visited  me,  as  if  it  was 
new  to  him.  He  was  delighted  to  find  it  had  some 
resemblance  to  what  he  called  his  portrait  in  the 
National  Gallery.  This  was  the  head  of  Galeazzo 
Malatesta  in  the  picture  of  the  Battle  of  Sant'  Egidio 
by  Uccello,  which  certainly  was  not  merely  the  same 
type,  but  was  at  this  time  exceedingly  like  him. 

I  soon  began  to  look  for  him  every  time  he  had 
written  ballad  or  scene  that  pleased  himself,  and  his 


II  A.   C.   SIVINBUR^^E  19 

advent  had  the  charm  of  sunshine  or  champagne  on 
one  with  many  burdens  conscientiously  borne,  and 
an  extreme  love  of  an  idleness  I  could  never 
indulo^e.  He  was  a  creature  above  all  the  ills  of 
life  or  difficulties  of  art,  emancipated  from  ordi- 
nary annoyances.  He  was  not  like  Rossetti,  self- 
tormented  by  the  ambition  to  paint,  which  he  could 
not  do  to  his  own  satisfaction  till  late  in  life ;  nor 
distracted  by  responsibilities  like  myself.  His 
pockets  were  always  crammed  with  papers ;  still 
he  recited  quires  of  manuscripts  without  consult- 
ing them.  But  his  nervous  excitable  nature  could 
not  stand  strain :  pain  was  nothing  to  him,  yet 
he  would  not  bear  the  slightest  inconvenience  a 
moment.  One  morning  he  had  a  toothache,  and  at 
once  determined  to  have  the  tooth  out.  He  would 
not  stand  it  another  minute ;  off  he  would  go  to 
the  dentist,  and  I  should  accompany  him.  It  was  a 
mighty  grinder,  and  the  operator  exerting  his  whole 
muscular  force,  lifted  him  from  the  seat  without 
extracting  the  tooth.  I  held  his  head,  the  grinder 
broke  ;  Swinburne  swore,  not  against  the  dentist, 
but  against  the  tooth,  and  had  it  out  piecemeal 
without  complaining! 

In  future  years,  amidst  the  wear  and  tear  of 
poetical  composition,  when  living  in  London — when 
Oxford  had  been  left  behind,  with  its  quiet  habits 
— we  used  to  wonder  how  his  amazing  physical 
powers  stood  the  hard  usage  he  gave  himself.  But 
the  stock  he  came  from  was  a  good  one,  and  I 
recollected  how  his  grandfather,  at  the  time  of  my 


Wallington  work,  astonished  the  doctor.  This 
doctor,  who  used  to  ride  past  Walhngton,  to  and 
from  Capheaton,  told  us  one  morning  that  Sir  John, 
then  more  than  ninety  years  of  age,  had  ruptured 
the  tendon-Achilles,  and  could  not  put  his  foot  to 
the  ground.  Of  course,  the  conclusion  formed  by 
the  surgeon  was  that  the  old  gentleman  would  never 
walk  again,  the  restoration  of  the  tendon  at  his 
age  not  being  thought  possible.  He  would  not, 
however,  keep  his  bed  ;  in  a  few  weeks  he  was  well 
again ! 

I  may  here  enter  a  very  droll  passage  with  the 
gruffest  and  most  ungenial  of  all  mortals,  though 
one  of  the  intellectual  potentates  of  the  age  and  of 
all  time,  Thomas  Carlyle.  In  the  attempt  to  refresh 
my  memory  about  Swinburne,  I  find  I  have  nearly 
missed  out  my  third  adventure  with  that  redoubtable 
friend  and  fellow -Scotchman.  Bound  to  him  for 
ever,  as  I  have  said,  by  his  prompt  notice  of  the 
lying  report  circulated  by  the  bookseller's  canvasser, 
I  sent  him  my  book  of  Poems  by  a  Painter,  as  the 
volume  has  been  often  called,  from  its  having  an 
etched  frontispiece  with  these  words  under  it. 
Critics  are  tired  out  by  repetition  of  the  same  kind  of 
work,  and,  with  a  load  of  new  books  waiting  for 
their  manipulation,  they  hurry  over  what  does  not  at 
the  first  instant  arrest  them  ;  my  respected  friend 
Carlyle,  though  not  a  professional  critic,  was  a  hard- 
worked  and  slowly  industrious  litterateur,  and  could 
not  find  leisure  to  look  at  anything  in  my  little 
book,   except    the   frontispiece,  which,   however,   he 


had  not  studied  to  good  purpose.  Like  the  Irish 
editor  who  would  not  prejudice  his  mind  by  perus- 
ing the  book,  he  wrote  me  the  following  note,  that 
startled  me  not  a  little  : 

Chelsea,  idth  October  1S54. 

Dear  Sir — I  have,  with  many  thanks  for  your  good- 
ness to  me,  received  your  pretty  little  volume.  Every- 
where in  it  I  find  proof  of  your  assiduity,  your  ingenuity, 
— in  short,  of  your  talent  for  doing  something  much  more 
useful  in  the  world  than  writing  rhymes  never  so  well. 
If  you  will  take  any  advice  of  mine  in  this  matter  (which 
I  hardly  expect  you  will)  then  know  that  according  to 
my  notion  a  man's  speech  is  next  to  nothing  in  compari- 
son to  the  man's  deed ;  what  he  can  do  and  practically 
perform,  not  at  all  what  he  can  speak  or  sing,  is  the  first 
question  we  ask  of  every  man  ;  to  which  I  only  add  that 
if  the  man  has  anything  to  say,  he  had  better  say  it  than 
sing  it,  at  this  time  of  day. 

Silence,  with  pious  thought  and  strenuous  practical 
exertion  superadded,  will  do  much  more  for  a  man  of 
worth  and  parts  than  any  speech  can  or  could.  You 
may  depend  upon  it  I  have  nothing  but  goodwill  towards 
you,  though  I  say  these  unwelcome  things. — I  am,  yours 
very  truly,  T.  Carlyle. 

This  note,  its  manner  as  well  as  its  meaning, 
puzzled  me  more  the  longer  I  thought  of  it.  I  had 
only  been  in  his  house  once  or  perhaps  twice,  it  is 
true,  but  my  circle  was  his  circle,  and  in  every  way 
I  was  favourably  known  to  him.  Besides,  I  had 
some  vague  recollection  of  having  seen  or  heard 
the  very  same  kind  of  sententious  elocution  before. 
It  seemed  an  echo  of  something  written  by  him  I 
had  seen  in  a  newspaper.  My  first  feeling  soon 
gave  way  to  one  of  mirth  at  the  absurdity  of  a  man 


whose  doings  had  been  very  feeble  indeed,  only  as 
a  parish  schoolmaster  at  Kirkcaldy,  and  who  had 
subsided  into  endless  objurgatory  prose  speech,  but 
for  which  neither  I  nor  any  other  man  above  the 
villaofe  blacksmith  in  that  lancr  toivn  would  ever 
have  heard  of  him.  I  tried  to  be  still  on  the  friend- 
liest terms  with  him,  and  in  a  fortnight  wrote  him 
as  follows,  endeavouring,  in  fact,  for  an  explanation: 

Newcastle,  wth  November,  1S54. 

Mv  DEAR  Sir — I  am  in  receipt  of  your  note  on  my 
little  book  of  Poems.  I  acknowledge  a  very  considerable 
influence  possessed  by  your  feelings  and  opinions  written 
or  printed  ;  and  therefore  cannot  help  writing  a  word  or 
two  in  reply  to  your  note  of  the  other  day. 

Of  all  men  in  the  world,  I  appear  to  myself  precisely 
the  last  whom  it  is  necessary  to  remind  that  what  a  man 
does  is  more  important  than  what  he  says  or  sings. 
Ever  since  boyhood  I  have  had  burdens  fall  to  my  share 
that  left  me  no  possibility  of  doubting  the  superior 
efficacy  as  well  as  the  imperious  necessity  of  ceaseless 
activity  and  tangible  work.  The  habit  of  doing  has  thus 
become  so  natural  to  me  that  the  smallest  interval  of 
time  is  filled  up  by  work — if  not  for  others,  then  for 
myself ; — thus  I  endeavoured  to  establish  my  brother's 
claims  by  publishing  his  Memoir,  and  thus,  too,  I  sent 
you  this  little  volume  of  Poems  illustrated  by  myself 
My  habit  of  doing  brings  upon  me  your  warning  against 
writing,  i.e.  idle  talking  and  singing  ! 

The  oddest  thing  is  that  yours  is  the  warning  voice, 
since  maxims  the  most  opposite  are  so  frequently  to  be 
found  in  your  writings.  You  may  (must  ?)  have  for- 
gotten the  circumstance  long  ago,  but  I  once  had  the 
temerity  to  write  you  regretting  the  absence  of  a  Hero  of 
Work,  an  Art- Hero,  from  your  book  of  hero-worship. 
Curious  it  is,  and  a  little  funny,  to  find  myself  replying 
to  your  late  note  as  I  do  now. 


But,  after  all,  the  thing  I  most  want  to  say  is,  that 
my  book  of  Poems  is  something  done,  not  merely  said  or 
sung,  but  for  the  most  part  experienced,  and  in  some 
part  felt  to  the  marrow  of  my  life.  If  it  were  merely 
good  singing,  it  would  meet  approval  from  a  greater 
number  than  it  is  likely  to  do  as  it  is. 

My  dear  Mr.  Carlyle,  with  much  respect,  )-ours, 

W.  B.  S. 

In  a  few  days  the  mystery  was  solved  :  I  received 
the  following : 

Chelsea,  \6th  November  1S54. 

My  dear  Sir — It  is  too  certain  I  have  committed 
an  absurd  mistake,  which  indeed  I  discerned  two  weeks 
ago  with  an  emotion  compounded  of  astonishment, 
remorse,  and  the  tendency  to  laugh  and  cry  both  at 
once  !  The  truth  is  I  am  pestered  with  incipient  volumes 
of  verses  from  young  lads  that  feel  something  stirring  in 
them  ;  on  the  frontispiece  of  your  little  volume,  I  read 
Printer  (not  Painter,  as  I  should  have  done),  nor  did  j-our 
written  note,  in  the  hurry  I  was  in,  recall  to  me  your 
identity  ;  fancying,  therefore,  it  was  an  ingenious  printer 
lad  in  your  coaly  town,  who  was  rashly  devoting  his 
extra  gifts,  evidently  rather  valuable  ones,  to  the  trade  of 
verse-making,  I  wrote  and  admonished  (hastily  reading 
five  or  six  stanzas  here  and  there),  in  the  singular  manner 
you  experienced  !  Never  was  a  more  distracted  q2ii  pro 
quo.  On  discovering  that  Printer  was  Painter,  and  hear- 
ing that  you  had  published  a  volume  of  Poems,  I  at  once 
found  my  "  Idle  Apprentice "  converted  into  a  grave, 
earnest  man,  of  mature  mastership,  with  a  beard  almost 
as  gray  as  my  own,  whose  surprise  at  my  reception  of 
him  it  was  at  once  ludicrous  and  horrible  to  picture  to 
myself!  This  is  the  naked  truth;  and  I  hope  you  will 
find  in  it  an  explanation  of  everyhing. 

For  the  rest,  I  must  say,  you  take  the  affair,  even  in 
its  unexplained  shape,  in  a  spirit  which  I  must  call 
chivalrous,  and  in  every  way  humane  and  noble,  for 
which  accept    praises  and    thanks  from   mc,  very  cordial 


indeed.  I  need  not  add  that  verses  of  your  writing, 
were  they  only  the  sport  of  well-earned  leisure,  come 
under  a  very  different  rubrick  from  verses  by  my  sup- 
posed young  gentleman  playing  truant  ;  and  are  likely  to 
be  much  more  deliberately  read  and  judged  of  in  this 
place  ;  and  that  my  doctrine  about  work  and  speech  was, 
and  continues  to  be,  so  far  as  I  can  perceive,  precisely 
your  own. 

On  the  whole,  I  will  ask  you  to  come  and  see  me 
again,  if  you  can  spare  half  an  hour  ,(3  to  4  P.M.),  while  in 
London  ;  to  consider  me  reading  your  new  Poems  (as  my 
purpose  was)  the  first  spare  evening  I  have  ;  and  always, 
as  remembering  with  pleasure  and  respect  the  friendly 
man,  recognisable  as  an  earnest  fellow-labourer  in  the 
vineyard,  whom  I  once  saw  here. — You  may  believe  me, 
yours  very  sincerely,  T.  Carlyle. 

I  had  signed  myself  "with  much  respect "  his, 
as  the  right  thing  to  do,  writing  as  I  did,  but,  after 
all,  I  did  not  feel  my  respect  quite  so  great  now 
that  the  explanation  had  come.  He  had  a  stereo- 
typed form  of  discouragement  for  the  young,  even 
although  the  idle  apprentice  could  do  what  he  now 
professed  to  respect,  finding  it  the  work  of  a  middle- 
aged  friend !  I  did  go  to  see  him  again,  and  in  the 
course  of  conversation  he  told  us  over  again  the 
same  story  he  had  told  me  before,  and  in  the  exact 
same  words !  The  story  was  of  his  visit  to  the  field 
of  the  Battle  of  Dunbar,  in  an  autumn  afternoon, 
and  seeing  Irish  reapers  resting  all  along  the  road 
after  their  long,  weary  journey.  Like  the  tenor  of 
my  letter,  this  story  was  evidently  prepared  as  a 
show-piece  of  descriptive  elocution  !  Alas  !  yet  it 
had   become  so   perhaps  only  after  the  publication 


of  the  Croniiuell.  Whether  or  not,  I  cannot  open 
any  of  his  greater  works  without  thinking  of  him  as 
one  of  the  greatest  men  of  the  time. 

Let  me  take  up  here  and  enter,  for  the  last  time, 
perhaps,  in  these  desultory  pages,  the  name  of  a 
dear  friend  who  remains  in  my  mind  associated 
with  Carlyle,  and  still  more  with  my  brother,  and 
others  belonging  to  a  cycle  now  closed  and  shut 
away  by  the  door  of  death — 

The  door  of  gold 
That  mortal  eyes  can  not  behold. 

Samuel  Brown  ought  certainly  to  have  left  an  hon- 
ourable name  in  various  walks.  He  perceived  the 
underlying  truth  in  scientific  things  by  the  supreme 
intuition  of  the  discoverer,  while  the  way  to  show  it 
to  others  he  had  still  to  find.  His  instincts  were 
sure,  while  his  experimentalism  did  not  always 
answer.  I  remember  his  venturing  on  the  now  very 
generally  accepted  idea  that  colour  would  be  found 
to  be  one,  not  three  components,  blue  and  yellow 
being  light  and  darkness,  leaving  red  as  the  inherent 
appearance  of  physical  things.  This  as  far  as  I 
understood  him  at  the  time,  but  then  came  the 
difficulties  of  experiment,  which  was  necessary — 
"  Triumphant  Analysis,"  of  which  he  was  so  fond  of 
talking,  having  reached  its  limit.  But  the  social  in- 
fluence he  possessed,  by  means  of  his  specific  learning 
and  wonderful  power  of  ready  speech,  has  left  a 
deeper  impression  and  a  more  charming  recollection 
of  his  personality  than  his   chemical   discovery,   or 

26  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

supposed  discovery,  relating  to  the  atomic  theory, 
his  essays,  admirable  as  they  were,  or  his  drama, 
Galileo  Galilei ,  which  is  about  as  good  as  Carl  von 
Gebler's  later  celebration  of  the  same  hero.  He 
might  have  made  any  reasonable  success  as  a 
physician,  I  venture  to  think ;  but  he,  like  my 
brother,  would  have  no  medium  success ;  their 
triumphs  were  to  be  in  the  highest  walk,  and  both 
failed — not  for  want  of  genius,  but  for  want  of 

His  cousin,  John  Brown,  who  has  left  a  more 
lasting  name,  but  whom  I  had '  only  met  in  an 
accidental  way,  wrote  me  that  Samuel  was  going 
down  very  fast.  My  last  sight  of  him  was  at  his 
native  place,  Haddington,  still  brimful  of  specula- 
tion on  his  favourite  topics,  though  furnace  and 
crucible  had  quitted  his  hand.  I  have  none  of  his 
letters  to  embellish  my  narrative  withal,  as  they  were 
gathered  in  by  his  wife,  with  a  view  to  publication, 
after  he  was  gone  ;  but  I  may  preserve  one  from  the 
author  of  Rab  and  his  Friends,  written  a  few  days 
after  his  death  : 

My  dear  Scott — Let  me  thank  you  most  cordially 
for  your  note.  I  knew  it  would  go  to  your  heart,  for  i&\\ 
men  loved  him  as  you  did,  and  as  he  knew  you  did.  I 
could  not  write  anything.  I  tried  and  broke  down.  I 
send  the  Scotsman,  which  is  by  his  unfailing  nurse,  J.  C.  B. 
The  N'ezvs  is,  I  think,  by  Professor  Nichol.  It  is  all  so 
sad,  so  pathetic  ;  such  a  mournful  eclipse  of  so  much 
brightness  and  power  ;  the  sun  going  down  while  it  is  yet 
day,  the  tree  withering  in  its  spring  leaves  ;  and  without 
one  word  of  complaint  from  him.  He  appeared  before 
the  time  was  ripe,  and  has  paid   the  forfeit.      Do  you   re- 


member  old  Grotius's  epitaph  on  the  Schoolmaster  ?     The 
idea  is  from  the  tenses  of  the  verb — 




Plus  quam  perfectum 


Always  glad  to  hear  from  you  for  your  own  sake,  as  well 
as  for  your  brother's  and  Samuel's. — Yours, 

J.  Brown. 

September  1856. 


1856-58 ADDITIONS    TO    THE    CIRCLE    THERE 

I  MUST  now  return  to  my  London  circle  of  friends, 
as  I  may  properly  call  the  new  school  of  painters, 
and  other  men  with  whom  they  were  associated. 
For  some  time  after  attaching  myself  to  the  "School 
of  Design,"  on  visiting  London  I  kept  up  some 
association  with  my  former  friends  by  visiting  them, 
especially  Frith,  O'Neil,  and  Egg.  But  I  found  the 
game  was  not  worth  the  candle  ;  all  these  had  found 
entrance  into  the  Academy,  and  that  made  a  differ- 
ence to  them — similar,  in  a  way,  to  the  change  which 
takes  place  on  the  ordinary  young  woman  when  she 
gets  married,  has  a  house  of  her  own,  and  has  little 
more  to  expect  in  life.  I  wholly  dissented  from 
Frith's  treatment  of  Pope  in  his  picture  of  Lady 
Wortley  Montague  laughing  at  him  in  contemptuous 
fashion,  however  well  painted  it  might  be.  I  could 
not  tell  him  I  thought  it  represented  the  characters 
of  the  poet  and  the  lady  from  the  point  of  view  of 
the  cad,  but  I  thought  so.  Egg  was  a  valuable  man 
in  a  way,  but  without  power  of  any  kind  whatever. 


Other  old  friends  were  gone  out  of  town,  or  dead,  as 
Poole,  Meadows,  or  Patric  Park,  sculptor. 

To  explain  the  mutual  relation  and  activities  of 
my  newer  friends  I  must  recur  to  their  letters,  as  far 
as  they  have  been  preserved.  Taken  year  by  year 
they  may  be  amusing. 

From  Woolner  in  May  1855.  He  says  there  is 
very  little  artistic  news  :  growlings,  of  course,  at  the 
Academy  Committee.  They  hung  Millais — even 
Millais  their  crack  student — in  a  bad  place,  he  being 
too  attractive  now  ;  but  that  celebrity  made  such  an 
uproar  the  old  fellows  were  glad  to  give  in  and  place 
him  better.  Millais'  amusement  when  Woolner  wrote 
was  to  go  about  and  rehearse  the  scene  that  took 
place  at  the  Academy  between  him  and  the  ancient 
magnates,  especially  the  horse  -  painter,  Abraham 
Cooper.  Hunt  had  not  yet  returned  from  Jerusalem, 
nor  did  Woolner  know  when  he  would  return. 

Tennyson  is  publishing  some  new  poems,  most  lovely 
things  :  I  think  them  the  best  he  has  done.  I  hope  you 
have  heard  of  the  new  illustrated  edition  of  his  works,  to 
appear  with  all  our  set  in  it,  if  Rossetti  can  be  got  to  work. 
There  is  to  be  an  engraving  of  my  medallion  of  the  royal 
Alfred  for  frontispiece.  I  have  made  a  new  one  of  him, 
much  better  than  the  last ;  also  a  new  Carlyle,  better  than 
the  old  one.  Carlyle  is  extremely  pleased  with  it,  and 
says  it  is  the  best  likeness  of  him  that  has  ever  been  done. 
That  brute  beast,  the  public,  begins  to  think  there  is  a 
glimmering  of  sense  in  the  much -ridiculed  Latter -Day 
Pamphlets.  The  stone  which  the  builders  rejected,  etc.  ; 
but  every  one  must  bide  his  time.  Concerning  Went- 
worth's  statue,  which  brought  mc  home,  it  has  turned  out 
a  failure.  Wentworth  has  resolved  on  founding  a  fellow- 
ship  at  the   Sydney  University  with  the  mone}-  instead. 


This  is  at  least  fifteen  hundred  out  of  my  pocket,  coming 
back  to  England  when  I  did. 

"It  was  the  only  chance  I  ever  had  of  making 
any  money,"  Woohier  says  in  the  despairing  way 
of  young  fellows,  and  ends  with  the  reflection : 
"  Throwing  up  a  certainty  for  promises  which  prove 
false  does  not  sweeten  one's  temper." 

From  Alexander  Munro,  a  little  while  later 
[October  1855].- 

I  have  delayed  writing  till  after  my  return  from  Paris, 
where  I  have  been  to  see  the  Great  Exhibition  with 
D.  G.  R.  I  got  home  on  Tuesday,  but  Rossetti  only 
returned  to-day.  We  enjoyed  Paris  immensely,  in  different 
ways  of  course,  for  Rossetti  was  every  day  with  his  sweet- 
heart [E.  S.],  of  whom  he  is  more  foolishly  fond  than  I 
ever  saw  lover.  Great  affection  is  ever  so  to  the  mere 
looker-on,  I  suppose.  Well  !  well  !  Hamon's  pictures 
are  indeed  lovely,  but  Decamps  is  the  great  fellow  ;  Ingres 
is  often  stupid,  and  Delacroix's  drawing  often  bad.  The 
grand  sight  was  the  Emperor  and  his  court  blazing  in  gold 
and  colour  at  the  distribution  of  medals  ;  the  Empress 
looking  more  lovely  than  ever,  her  head  and  neck  very 
gracefully  bending  like  a  bell-flower.  Old  Horace  Verney 
was  there,  resplendent  in  decorations  from  every  country 
but  ours.  I  spent  one  delightful  evening  with  the  Brown- 
ings, who  are  living  in  Paris  ;  the  Trevelyans  I  did  not 
meet,  although  they  were  there. 

William  Rossetti  writes  [June  1855]  in  a  long 
letter  difficult  to  epitomise.  I  had  asked  him  about 
Woolner  in  my  last,  so  he  also  gives  me  the  account 
of  the  Wentworth  statue  having  gone  among  the 
"  were  to  be." 


Poor  old  sturdy  Woolner  is  done  again  ;  he  thinks  of 
returning  to  Australia,  where  he  was  going  on  swimmingly, 
staying  a  year  or  two,  then  finally  back  to  England. 
Allingham's  little  volume,  such  as  it  is,  is  about  ready,  illus- 
trated by  Hughes  with  woodcuts,  also  by  Millais  and 
Gabriel.  Hunt,  when  he  wrote  last,  was  to  leave  Jeru- 
salem shortly,  and  to  be  at  Constantinople  before  now.  I 
have  a  long-pending  engagement  to  meet  him  at  some 
point  on  the  Continent  on  his  way  home.  He  has  not 
had  any  picture  ready  to  send  over  from  the  East  for  the 
Exhibition,  but  a  life-size  crayon  of  his  father,  admirably 
finished,  has  been  rejected  ;  they  wanted  to  do  the  same 
for  Millais,  but  did  not  dare.  Are  you  aware  he  [Millais] 
is  now  at  Perth,  whither  he  started  last  Monday,  to  be 
married  (to-morrow  I  think).  Such  is  the  scene  at  present 
on  the  stage  of  that  curious  and  mournful  tragi-comedy. 
Ruskin  himself,  for  whom  almost  exclusively  Gabriel  is  now 
engaged  painting,  has  been  very  unwell  of  late,  poor 
fellow,  and  is  staying  at  Tunbridge,  but  he  will  be  back 
to  town  on  Thursday.  I  have  met  him  repeatedly,  and 
know  few  men  I  like  better. 

This  is  very  pretty  of  William.  He  was  the 
most  amiable  and  generous  of  friends  and  .brothers. 
Here  is  something  from  Gabriel  on  the  same  matters, 
and  to  the  same  effect.  I  wish  I  could  transcribe  it 
all,  ending  as  it  does  with  a  sonnet. 

I  see  your  book  in  Mudie's  last  list  [he  says],  together 
with  The  Angel  in  the  House,  whose  gifted  author's  face 
must  afford  a  fine  rainbow  study,  since  that  vile  stuff  in 
the  AtJiencEiun.  [This  was  an  amusing  review  in  verse, 
exactly  like  that  of  the  poem  reviewed,  but  printed  as 
prose.]  However,  his  book,  it  seems,  is  selling  at  a  hundred 
a  month.  I  remember  you  asked  me  how  I  liked  it.  Oh, 
it's  done  to  a  nicety,  really  well  and  extra  well.  But  I 
know   I   need   not  read  it  again,  although  the  author  is 


asking  his  friends  all  round  to  do  so,  and  marginise  on  it 
suggestions  for  the  new  edition.  But  the  book  is  a  first- 
rate  one  in  its  way.  Allingham  is  shortly  to  be  out  with 
a  new  or  a  demi-semi-new  volume,  for  which  I  have  not 
yet  ceased  to  be  astounded  at  having  drawn  an  illustration 
on  wood  in  a  moment  of  enthusiasm,  but  if  it  is  not  well 
cut  it  shall  be  cut  out.  I  have  been  asked  by  Moxon  to 
do  some  for  the  Tennyson,  and  said  I  would,  but  don't 
know  whether  I  shall,  as  all  the  most  practicable  subjects 
have  been  given  away  already — my  own  fault,  however, 
as  I  had  been  asked  to  choose  long  ago.  Millais — but 
perhaps  you  have  heard  variously  about  him  !  In  painting 
he  is  hard  at  work  apotheosising  the  fire-brigade  [painting 
his  picture  of  the  children  saved  from  a  house  on  fire]. 
Hannay — did  you  see  his  Satire  and  Satirists  ?  a  real 
book,  the  best  he  has  done — is  going  to  publish  Nettlc- 
Floiucrs,  a  Collection  of  Epigrams,  etc.,  and  means  to 
contract  for  a  few  cudgellings  in  a  mild  way,  as  advertise- 
ment.     Here  is  a  rough  recollection  of  one  : 

Priapus  Higg  loquitur. 

"With  fraud  the  church,  the  law,  the  camp  are  rife, 
Nothing  but  wickedness  !      O  weary  life  ! 
I  must  console  me  with  my  neighbour's  wife. 

W.  M.  R.  again,  dated  December  1856.  He 
sends  "  many  thanks  for  the  Leaves  of  Grass,  which 
I  have  not  yet  received  from  Woohier,  but  shall 
be  eager  to  read  as  soon  as  I  get  it.  Woolner  and 
others  denounce  the  book  in  the  savagest  of  terms  ; 
but  I  suspect  I  shall  find  a  great  deal  to  like,  a  great 
deal  to  be  surprised  and  amused  at,  and  not  a  little 
to  approve, — all  mingled  of  course  with  a  lot  of 
worse  than  worthless  eccentricity."  Soon  after  he 
adds,    "The  Leaves  of  Grass  has    come    to  hand. 


My  best  expectations  are  more  than  confirmed  by 
what  Httle  I  have  read  as  yet  ;  and  Gabriel,  who 
has  had  nothing  but  abuse  for  it  hitherto,  tends  even 
towards  enthusiasm.  You  could  not  have  given  me 
anything  I  should  better  like  to  receive."  This  was 
the  introduction  of  Walt  Whitman's  work  to  the 
English  literary  world.  A  travelling  bookseller, 
who  had  been  in  America,  and  been  all  through  the 
war  with  Whitman,  had  brought  over  a  number  of 
copies  of  the  first  edition,  an  eccentric  man  of 
republican  principles  and  very  hard-up.  In  America 
the  book  being  ignored  by  all  booksellers,  who 
declined  at  first  even  to  lay  it  on  their  counters,  he 
had  got  a  quantity  of  copies  and  was  now  trying  to 
sell  them  at  Sunderland  by  Dutch  auction.  Thomas 
Dixon,  my  constant  friend,  a  perceptive  man  and  a 
public-spirited,  though  then  only  a  working  cork- 
cutter,  sent  the  book  to  me  as  a  curiosity.  Instantly 
I  perceived  the  advent  of  a  new  poet,  a  new  Ameri- 
canism, and  a  new  teacher,  and  I  invested  in  several 
copies.  The  one  I  sent  to  W.  M.  R.  was  the  cause 
of  his  editine  the  EnMish  edition,  which  raised 
Whitman  into  a  celebrity. 

At  that  moment  I  had  induced  Woolner  to 
visit  Sir  Walter  Trevelyan  with  me,  which  was  a 
fortunate  circumstance  in  his  professional  career,  as 
he  carried  away  a  commission  for  a  marble  group 
to  occupy  the  centre  of  the  hall,  and  this  was  the 
beginning  of  his  great  success.  W.  M.  R.  goes  on 
to  speak  of  this  group,  which  was  to  carry  out. 
express,    or    typify    in    some    manner,     the    result 

VOL.   II  D 

34  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

of  all  the   history    I    was-  then   painting  round  the 

What  is  Woolner's  "  centre  sculpture  for  the  Hall  "  at 
Wallington  to  be,  do  you  know  ?  I  asked  him  about  it 
just  after  receiving  your  note,  and  he  did  not  seem  to 
have  any  distinct  idea  of  either  the  subject  or  the  extent 
of  the  commission.  I  hope  it  will  be  a  good  one,  and 
that  he  will  make  a  good  thing  of  it,  for  really  it  is 
beginning  to  be  high  time  he  should  take  up  his  proper 
position.  Of  Lady  Trevelyan  I  saw  but  little  when  I 
met  her  at  Mrs.  Loudon's,  but  she  seems  particularly 
frank,  unaffected,  and  good-humouredly  willing  to  be 
pleased.  I  had  more  conversation  with  Sir  Walter — a 
fine-minded  man,  of  both  natural  and  acquired  dignity. 
He  would  do  well  for  Don  Quixote — not  the  Don  of  the 
caricaturist,  however.  Both  spoke  most  lovingly  of  you 
[which  gave  me  great  pleasure].  Aurora  Leigh  [just 
published]  was  sent  to  Gabriel,  and  also  to  Woolner,  by 
Mrs.  Browning  herself,  and  both  are  unboundedly  enthusi- 
astic about  it.  I  have  read  as  yet  something  less  than 
two  books  of  it,  stuffed  and  loaded  with  poetic  beauty 
and  passionate  sympathy  and  insight.  It  is  certainly 
better  than  only  a  succession  of  fine  things,  though,  even 
to  take  the  book  from  that  point  of  view,  it  would  be  quite 
a  wonderful  thing  of  the  kind.  I  confess,  however,  I  stand 
somewhat  taken  aback  at  the  prospect  of  the  14,000  lines 
of  blank  verse,  introspection,  and  humanitarian  romance, 
and  I  would  not  venture  to  name  any  early  day  for  coming 
to  the  end  of  it.  I  have  alluded  to  Thomas  Seddon's 
death  [Hunt's  friend  who  died  in  the  East].  You  have 
probably  met  him  among  our  set  in  London,  though  I  am 
not  certain.  He  was  doing  good  service  in  the  application 
of  the  Pre-Raphaelite  principle  to  landscape  of  historic 
interest,  such  as  Jerusalem,  Egypt,  etc.,  and  in  a  year  or 
more  would  have  made  a  very  decided  position.  His 
sudden  death  from  dysentery  at  Cairo  at  the  age  of  thirty- 
five  is  very  melancholy,  both   for  his  own   family  and  for 


the  wife  he  had  married  only  a  year  and  a  half  ago. 
Hunt,  like  the  fine  fellow  he  is,  was  the  first  to  suggest 
that  some  public  recognition  and  substantial  fruit  of  his 
exertions  might  be  attained  by  exhibiting  the  works  he 
has  left.  I  am  just  setting  off  to  a  meeting  at  Brown's 
where  four  or  five  of  us  are  to  talk  the  matter  over.  [The 
result  was  a  subscription  which  purchased  and  presented 
to  the  National  Gallery  the  picture  of  Jerusalem.] 

Now  for  a  rapid  dash  at  our  news.  Hunt  is  painting 
at  his  "  Christ  and  the  Doctors  in  the  Temple,"  having 
established  himself  for  the  present  in  the  Crystal  Palace  for 
some  use  that  he  can  turn  the  Alhambra  Court  to  for  the 
background.  Gabriel  has  done  four  of  his  Tennyson 
designs,  and  is  preparing  with  some  seriousness  to  paint 
an  altar-piece  for  Llandaff  Cathedral — subject,  the  Nativity. 
Millais  is  still  at  Perth.  Woolner,  well  on  with  his  Tenny- 
son bust  in  marble.  Arthur  Hughes,  with  sufficiency  of 
commissions  and  also  a  baby.  Hannay  is  writing  for  the 
Quarterly.  The  Brownings  are  back  to  Florence  ;  their 
presence  in  London  was  most  delightful  to  all  of  our  set 
who  know  them.  Brown,  who  has  not  yet  begun  his 
picture  of  "  Work,"  has  done  a  small  oil  portrait  of  me, 
capital  in  painting  and  likeness,  which  he  has  presented 
to  my  mother. 

Gabriel  follows  a  month  later  or  so  (February 
1857)  from  14  Chatham  Place,  where  he  remained 
so  long  : 

I  have  been  meaning  to  write  you  ever  since  Brown 
showed  me  the  photograph  from  your  noble  picture  of 
"  St.  Cuthbert."  I  had  not,  in  the  state  of  sleepy  worry 
in  which  one  lives  here,  woke  up  to  the  consciousness  that 
such  things  were  being  done,  and  it  came  to  me  as  a 
most  delightful  surprise.  I  shall  hope  some  day  to  see 
the  original.  I  suppose  it  is  the  only  picture  existing  as 
yet  of  so  definitely  "  historical "  a  class,  in  which  the 
surroundings    are  all    real    studies    from   nature  ;   a  great 

36  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

thing  to  have  done.  The  sky  and  sea  are  sky  and  sea, 
and  the  ancient  boats  are  all  real  as  if  }'ou  had  got  such 
things  to  sit  to  you.  The  whole  scene  too,  and  the  quiet 
way  in  which  the  incident  is  occurring,  at  once  strike  the 
spectator  with  the  immense  advantage  of  simple  truth  in 
historical  art  over  the  "  monumental  "  style.  The  figures 
all  seem  very  fine,  although  their  lower  limbs  are  out  of 
focus  in  the  photograph.  The  only  one  which  at  all  fails 
to  satisfy  me  is  the  priest  in  the  centre  ;  but  perhaps  you 
are  right  in  curtailing  him  of  much  individuality.  [This 
figure  represents  Bishop  Theodore,  an  Oriental  from  Smyrna, 
whom  I  had  consequently  made  very  dusky  in  complexion. 
He  accompanied  the  young  King  of  Northumbria  to  the 
island  of  Cuthbert's  hermitage,  having  celebrated  mass 
before  embarking.  I  represented  him  apparelled  for  the 
celebration  to  give  contrast  to  the  hermit's  wrapper. 
This  may  be  considered  by  some  a  sacrifice  to  pictorial 
convention  ;  if  so,  it  is  the  only  one  in  the  picture,  or,  as 
far  as  I  know,  in  any  of  the  series  of  pictures.]  A  suc- 
cession of  works  such  as  this  cannot  fail  to  establish  your 
reputation.  I  hear  you  are  now  at  work  on  the  "  Building 
of  the  Roman  Wall."  One  of  the  future  subjects,  "  Barnard 
Gilpin  taking  down  the  Gauntlet,"  should  inspire  you  ;  it 
will  be  a  glorious  opportunity  for  a  stirring  work.  I 
have  done  a  few  water-colours  in  my  small  way  lately,  and 
designed  five  blocks  for  Tennyson,  some  of  which  are 
still  cutting  and  maiming.  It  is  a  thankless  task.  After 
a  fortnight's  work  my  block  goes  to  the  engraver,  like 
Agag,  delicately,  and  is  hewn  to  pieces  before  the — Lord 
Harry  ! 

Address  to  the  D l  Brothers 

O  woodman,  spare  that  block, 
O  gash  not  anyhow  ; 
It  took  ten  days  by  clock, 
I'd  fain  protect  it  now. 

Chorus,  wild  laughter  from  Dalziel's  workshop. 

Your   friend  W.   J.   Linton  did   two  for   me.       [I    am 
delighted  to  quote  his  good  ojDinion.]      I  am  convinced  he 


is  a  long  way  the  best  engraver  living,  now  that  old 
Thomson  is  nearly  out  of  the  field.  But  unluckily  the 
two  that  went  to  Linton  were  just  the  least  elaborate. 
All  the  most  careful  ones  have  gone  to  Dalziel,  and  have 
fared  but  miserably,  though  I  am  sure  the  greatest  pains 
have  been  bestowed  upon  them.  Yesterday  I  made 
Linton's  acquaintance,  as  he  came  to  town  on  business  ; 
he  seems  a  most  agreeable  fellow. 

Two  young  men,  projectors  of  the  Oxford  and 
Cambridge  Alagazine,  have  recently  come  to  town  also 
from  Oxford,  and  are  now  very  intimate  friends  of  mine. 
Their  names  are  Morris  and  Jones.  They  have  turned 
artists  instead  of  taking  up  any  other  career  to  which  the 
University  generally  leads,  and  both  are  men  of  real 
genius.  Jones's  designs  are  marvels  of  finish  and  imagina- 
tive detail,  unequalled  by  anything  unless  perhaps  Albert 
Durer's  finest  works  ;  and  Morris,  though  without  practice 
as  yet,  has  no  less  power,  I  fancy.  [Such  is  D.  G.  R.'s 
first  impression  of  the  two  close  friends  and  men  of 
original  genius.  Besides,  he  goes  on  to  say] :  He  [Morris] 
has  written  some  really  wonderful  poetry  too,  and  as  I 
happen  to  have  a  song  of  his  in  my  pocket  I  enclose  it  to 
you.  [This  song  has  been  lost,  or  possibly  returned  ;  I 
cannot  find  it,  or  remember  what  it  was.] 

Gabriel  writes  again  in  March  1857,  sending  me 
three  numbers  of  the  Oxford  and  Cambridge  Maga- 
zine containing  three  poems  of  his.  Regarding  one 
of  these  he  wants  to  protest  that  it  appears  in  the 
same  number  with  a  praise  of  one  of  his  pictures, 
quite  innocently  on  his  part : 

The  praise  was  written  by  my  most  kind  friend  Vernon 
Lushington  [whose  name  I  now  heard  for  the  first  time] 
before  I  knew  of  his  intention,  and  I  never  saw  it  till 
ready  for  press.  The  poem  had  been  some  time  in  the 
editor's  hands,  and  got  put  in  unluckily  just  then.  Non 
mca  culpa. 

38  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

He  says  again  : 

I  hope  some  day  to  see  your  pictures  ;  but  also  think 
there  ought  to  be  some  steps  taken,  if  possible,  to  show 
them  in  London  when  several  are  completed.^  Could  not 
they  be  fixed  only  temporarily  in  the  Hall  at  present  ?  I 
shall  not  forget  to  keep  photographs  of  m)'  blocks  for 
Tennyson  for  you.  Besides  these  three  I  have  done  two 
more,  which  W.  J.  Linton  has  cut  well,  and  of  which, 
therefore,  I  need  not  regret  having  no  photograph.  I 
have  forwarded  your  "  Seddon  "  subscription  to  William. 
About  the  new  art  paper,  it  is  to  be  feared  it  will  not 
come  to  anything  :  Ruskin  bites  not.  You  asked  about 
the  capitals  (botanical)  for  the  Oxford  Museum.  I  have 
not  undertaken  any,  but  promised  some  time  ago  to 
design  the  sculpture  in  the  arched  doorway  to  the  street 
— how  call  you  it  ? — but  have  not,  however,  heard  from 
Woodward  [the  architect  of  the  museum]  ver}'  lately. 
He  is,  as  }'ou  surmise,  well  worth  knowing,  but  is  the 
stillest  creature  out  of  an  oyster-shell. 

Woodward  had  appeared  as  a  guest  at  WalHng- 
ton,  and  also  Dr.  Acland,  and  I  had  designed  the 
first  of  the  capitals  of  pillars  which  were  to  form  a 
series  all  round  the  museum  supporting  the  gallery, 
and  were  expected,  by  combining  four  or  six  plants 
on  each  cap  in  a  Gothic  manner,  to  represent  all  the 
botanical  classes.  That  year,  on  visiting  Oxford,  I 
found  some  of  these  cut  by  the  O'Sheas,  very  good 
indeed  ;  but  those  expert  stone-carvers  disliked  copy- 
ing drawings — could  only,  in  fact,  improvise  with  a 
vague  resemblance  to  the  copy. 

Again  in  June  1857  Rossetti  writes  me,  mainly 
on  my  new  picture  of  the  "  Building  of  Hadrian's 

1   [The  pictures  were   ultimately  exhibited,   when  the   series    of 
eight  was  completed,  at  the  French  Gallery  in  June  1861. — Ed.] 


Wall"  and  about  a  small  semi-private  exhibition 
opened  by  the  set  or  coterie — we  may  as  well  call  a 
spade  a  spade — in  Fitzroy  Place,  accessible  by  free 
tickets,  which  exhibition  was  a  forerunner  of  the 
Hogarth  Club,  constituted  a  year  after.  I  will  not, 
however,  indulge  myself  again  in  transcribing  his 
praises.  Here  are  his  tidings  about  the  two  friends 
from  Oxford  : 

Morris  has  as  }-et  done  nothing  in  art,  but  is  now 
busily  painting  his  first  picture,  "  Sir  Tristram  after  his 
Illness  in  the  Garden  of  King  Mark's  Palace,  recognised 
by  the  Dog  he  had  given  to  Iseult,"  from  the  Morte  d'ArtJnir. 
It  is  being  done  all  from  nature  of  course,  and  I  believe 
will  turn  out  capitally.  His  chum  Jones,  who  is  by  far 
the  most  advanced  of  the  two,  is  getting  commissions 
fast,  and  has  done  some  wonderful  cartoons  in  colour  for 
stained  glass,  which  would  delight  the  soul  of  you.  He 
has  an  order  for  an  oil  picture  from  Mr.  Plint  of  Leeds, 
and  has  done  me  the  honour  of  choosing  for  subject 
my  "Blessed  Damozel,"  which  he  is  to  illustrate  in  two  com- 
partments. I  have  no  doubt  it  will  be  in  our  next  year's 
exhibition.  I  hope  you  will  send  us  one  of  }'our  pictures, 
but  I  have  as  }'et  no  idea  of  their  size.  [This  picture 
was  never  done,  Mr.  Plint  having  died.] 

Thus  my  circle  of  friends  was  being  gradually 
enriched  by  those  I  met,  Swinburne  and  others, 
under  the  friendly  wing  of  Lady  Trevelyan  ;  and 
these  notices  in  London  letters  were  the  first  inti- 
mations of  the  advent  of  two  youths  who  were  both 
destined  to  fill  an  important  place  in  the  intellectual 
history  of  our  time.  They  w^ere  undergraduates 
together  at  Oxford  at  the  time  D.  G.  R.'s  poetry 
brought  them  to  him  in  connection  with  the  Magazine, 

40  WILLIAM  BELL  SCOTT  chap. 

in  which  they  were  both  actively  concerned — Burne- 
Jones  feebly,  however,  and  William  Morris  enthusi- 
astically, as  he  contributed  many  wonderful  tales 
and  some  poems.  They  were  then  fast  friends,  and 
they  have  remained  so  ever  since.  The  powers  of 
the  two  men  were,  however,  very  distinct,  although 
at  this  their  starting-point  they  were  both  equally 
bent  on  becoming  artists.  Morris's  first  step  in 
this  direction  was  to  article  himself  to  George 
Edmund  Street,  then  located  in  the  University 
town  as  architect  to  the  diocese.  He  paid  his 
premium,  and  soon  tiring  of  the  regular  office  work, 
left  it  off,  and  they  both,  as  we  have  seen,  appeared 
in  London.  Morris  w^as  entirely  his  own  master, 
but  E.  B.  J.'s  course  of  action  was  not  so  free,  as 
he  had  a  father  living,  and  it  was  only  by  the 
mediation  and  warm  assurance  of  Rossetti  as  to  his 
son's  extraordinary  talent  that  the  paternal  bias  to 
the  Church  for  his  son's  career  gave  way  ;  D.  G.  R. 
told  me.  Perhaps  the  best  of  Morris's  tales  in  the 
Oxford  and  CambiHdge  Magazine  were  *'  Gertha's 
Lovers"  and  the  "Hollow  Land,"  but  all  of  his 
contributions  were  unmistakable  in  imao^inative 
beauty,  and  will  some  day  be  republished. 

At  this  time  the  Union  debating  club-house  and 
library  was  just  finished  building.  Those  interested 
in  it.  Dr.  Acland,  Mr.  Woodward,  the  architect,  and 
others,  accepted  the  offer  on  the  part  of  Rossetti — 
I  think  it  must  have  been  mainly  in  his  hand,  as  he 
asked  me  to  join  in  the  work — to  surround  the 
gallery   of   the    great    room   with    life-size    subjects 


from  the  romance  of  the  Round  Table.  Both  of 
these  youths  went  into  the  scheme  ;  Arthur  Hughes 
also,  and  a  youth  whose  name  has  not  yet  adorned 
these  pages,  Valentine  Prinsep.  The  work  was 
voluntary  ;  the  remuneration  was  to  be  the  honour  ; 
the  expenses  of  living  there  while  the  work  was 
going  on  and  the  bills  for  colours  being  defrayed  by 
the  Union.  I  did  not  avail  myself  of  the  invitation 
to  join  the  party,  as  I  had  fortunately  other  occupa- 
tion. But  will  it  be  believed,  not  one  of  the  band 
from  first  to  last  knew  anything  whatever  of  wall- 
painting  and  its  requirements  !  It  was  simply  the 
most  unmitigated  fiasco  that  ever  was  made  by  a 
parcel  of  men  of  genius.  The  "  great  work  "  Gabriel 
as  we  see  holds  out  hopes  of  Morris  accomplishing, 
that  begun  by  Rossetti  himself,  and  the  one  next  it 
by  Valentine  Prinsep  all  went  rapidly  on,  but  only 
apparently,  as  they  were  painted  in  water-colours  on 
the  irregular  brick  wall  merely  whitewashed  !  The 
wall  being  a  common  brick  wall  meant  to  be  primed 
with  plaster,  one  might  have  expected  even  the 
architect  Woodward  would  have  expostulated.  He 
did  not :  the  edges  of  all  the  bricks  caught  the  dust ; 
and  as  no  adhesive  medium,  so  far  as  I  could  dis- 
cover, was  used,  the  powder  colours  rubbed  off  the 
flat  surfaces.  When  I  saw  them  only  a  few  months 
after  they  were  executed,^  they  were  beginning  to  be 

1  [In  an  old  pocket-book  containing  entries  about  this  visit  to 
Oxford,  which  seems  to  have  been  in  June  1858,  I  find  a  note  of 
Mr.  Scott's  impressions  of  the  Union  paintings,  which  is  worth 
transcribing. — Ed.] 

"  The  paintings  by  the  new-school  artists  in  the  Union  are  very 


unintelligible.  By  this  time  they  must  have  largely 
disappeared.  Still  the  remains  are  curiously  inter- 
esting, and  ought  to  be  preserved. 

What  gave  Morris  his  proper  position  was  the 
publication  in  the  following  year  (185S)  of  the 
Defence  of  Giienevcvc.  This  book  was  and  is  the 
most  notable  first  volume  of  any  poet ;  many  of  the 
poems  represent  the  mediaeval  spirit  in  a  new  way, 
not  by  a  sentimental  nineteenth  -  century-  revival 
mediaevalism,  but  they  give  a  poetical  sense  of  a 
barbaric  age  strongly  and  sharply  real.  Woolner 
wrote  to  me  at  the  time  of  publication,  "  I  believe 
they  are  exciting  a  good  deal  of  attention  among 
the  intelligent  on  the  outlook  for  something  new." 
Nevertheless,  like  Swinburne's  first  volume,  the  book 
was  still-born.  The  considerable  body  of  perfectly- 
informed  but  unsympathetic  professional  critics  are, 
strange  to  say,  so  useless  as  directors  of  public  taste 
that  they  have  never  yet  lifted  the  right  man  into 

interesting.  They  are  poems  more  than  pictures  —  being  large 
illuminations  and  treated  in  a  mediceval  manner,  not  studied  from 
nature  nor  endeavouring  to  represent  nature  indeed — at  least  not 
restricting  the  means  of  suggestion  by  the  limitation  of  correct 
imitation.  The  drawing  is  such  as  men  who  have  scarcely  practised 
at  all  can  do  without  the  model  before  them,  and  the  colour  is  all 
positive,  like  mediaeval  work,  the  execution  stippling  like  a  miniature. 
The  conception  of  the  whole  artistically,  the  method  of  working,  and 
the  character  of  colour  and  design  are  undoubtedly  all  due  to 
Rossetti ;  indeed  the  work  is  properly  his  work,  Morris  also  showing 
in  the  roof  the  originality  one  might  expect  from  his  character  as  a 
poet.  This  is  shown  in  Rossetti's  picture  being  so  much  more 
perfect  than  the  rest.  In  it  the  stippling  is  admirably  expressive  of 
the  detail,  but  in  all  the  others  it  means  nothing.  However,  this 
stippling  with  a  little  brush  is  simply  the  result  of  his  habit  of  paint- 
ing nothing  but  little  water-colours.  The  invention  in  his  picture 
and  in  some  of  the  others  is  most  lyrical  and  delightful.'' 

D.    G.   ROSSETTI 


his  right  place  at  once.  After  repeated  volumes  had 
attracted  public  favour,  both  of  these  little  volumes 
were  reprinted  ;  the  original  impression  having  been 
returned  to  the  paper-mill,  this  destination  being  the 
successor  to  "the  trunkmaker"  of  old  times. 

I  have  quoted  one  of  Rossetti's  letters  expressing 
great  praise  of  one  of  my  Wallington  pictures.  I 
might  have  quoted  many  more.  The  admiration 
for  the  scenic  treatment  and  the  accessories  in  the 
"St.  Cuthbert"  picture,  for  the  sea  and  the  sky,  the 
birds,  and  other  matters,  which  he  repeats  with 
still  increasing  emphasis  of  other  following  pictures, 
suggests  a  few^  remarks.  I  have  always  believed 
the  best  unofficial  education  for  an  artist  is  daily 
sketching,  keeping  a  pocket  sketch-book  as  Thomas 
Sibson,  a  friend  too  soon  lost,  as  already  noticed, 
was  in  the  habit  of  doino^.  If  he  in  this  wav  records 
every  characteristic  action,  every  beautiful  feature  or 
form  he  observes,  not  only  in  the  accidents  of  society 
or  active  human  life,  but  also  in  vegetation  or  among 
the  lower  animals,  he  will  be  real  and  natural  in 
expressing  whatever  he  invents.  "  All  painted  from 
nature"  is  very  excellent,  as  Rossetti  says  Morris  is 
doing  at  the  Union  ;  this,  however,  meant  merely 
that  he  got  sunflow^ers  into  the  gallery,  but  as  he 
could  not  or-et  Tristram  alono-  w^ith  them  the  sun- 
flowers  were  so  obtrusive  he  only  showed  Tristram's 
head  over  them  !  The  best  professional  education 
for  a  painter  is  perhaps  scene -painting,  but  for 
designing,  thinking  pictorially,  the  vital  habit 
necessary     is    observing     and    recording,    however 

44  WILLIAM  BELL  SCOTT  chap. 

slightly  and  transiently,  the  multitudinous  aspects  of 

The  absence  of  this  habit  made  Holman  Hunt, 
the  most  conscientious  of  men  and  the  most  realistic 
of  painters,  a  slave  to  the  circumstances  under  which 
he  worked  ;  and  D.  G.  R.,  poet  and  imaginative 
inventor,  who  never  made  a  memorandum  of  any 
thing  in  the  world  except  from  the  female  face 
between  sixteen  and  twenty-six,  was  torn  to  pieces 
by  the  waste  of  energy  and  excruciating  difficulty 
entailed  by  the  getting  of  his  picture  backgrounds 
reasonably  right.  I  shall  not  say  true  to  life  or 
nature — that  he  never  considered  ;  but  he  would 
unwittingly  make  the  wall  of  a  house  only  two  inches 
thick,  or  its  perspective  entirely  wrong.  In  the 
water-colour  picture  I  got  Lady  Trevelyan  to  com- 
mission, "The  Virgin  in  the  House  of  St.  John," 
he  had  to  introduce  a  distaff;  after  spending  weeks 
in  looking  for  one  he  drew  one  "out  of  his  head," 
and  made  the  lint  drawn  from  the  top  of  the  mass 
looking  somewhat  like  a  smoking  chimney  in  the 
painting.  True  Italian  as  he  was,  he  never  went 
home  even  as  tourist,  where  he  could  have  seen  the 
old  women  about  Rome  still  using  the  distaff;  he 
cared  for  nothing,  in  short,  but  what  he  invented. 
Had  he  gone  he  would  never  have  sketched  the  old 
women  with  distaffs.  He  would  have  come  back  as 
ignorant  as  he  went  pictorially,  but  wiser  in  every 
other  respect.  I  prevailed  on  him  to  alter  the 
fallacy,  but  even  after  explanation  he  could  not 
make  it  rio^ht.      In  the  little  vio^nette  for  his  sister's 

D.   G.   ROSSETTI  45 

Princes  Progress  he  made  an  open  window  looking 
on  a  garden  in  which  was  a  labyrinth ;  this  he 
actually  represented  as  the  plan,  not  the  picture,  of 
a  labyrinth  !  I  knew  at  once  he  had  taken  it  from 
the  plan  of  the  labyrinth  at  Hampton  Court  given 
in  the  sixpenny  guide  to  that  locality.  He  would 
rather  buy  the  book,  and  not  trouble  to  ofo  into  the 
maze  itself! 

He  has  all  his  life  been  occupied  and  absorbed 
in  his  own  conceptions  of  art  or  of  poetry.  But  we 
cannot  live  by  bread  alone  ;  life  is  multiform,  and 
art  for  art's  sake  is  a  narrow  field.  Without  the 
faculty  of  observation  the  ideal  becomes  simply  the 
unreal.  Jones  is  a  painter  by  nature  ;  the  aspect  is 
everything  to  him,  the  reality  little.  Rossetti  is  a 
poet,  and  feels  the  core  of  the  matter  to  be  all- 
important  ;  but  his  powers  of  observation  of  the 
actual  world  are  nearly  nil.  I  mention  these  defects 
in  the  accessories  of  his  pictures  as  an  argument  for 
the  value  of  sketching  from  nature  ;  they  were 
infinitely  insignificant  compared  with  the  richness 
of  invention,  purity  of  feeling,  and  loveliness  of  the 
figures  represented  in  the  works  of  each  of  these 


RESUME      OF      LETTERS      FROM     FRIENDS,     1S59-60-61 


I  HAVE  now  arrived  at  a  period  when  painting 
occupied  all  my  days  and  nights  too,  though  I  still 
conducted  the  School  of  Art.  I  shall  therefore 
have  little  to  say  about  myself,  and  shall  again  fall 
back  upon  letters,  such  as  were  annually  saved  from 
the  waste-basket  of  the  year  at  Christmas.  Not 
any.  of  these  letters  were  other  than  friendly  and 
accidental,  but  as  they  relate  mainly  to  passing 
events,  their  want  of  elaboration  is  no  defect,  and 
no  confidences  are  violated  by  what  I  shall  extract. 

Sometimes  a  sketch  or  a  verse,  even  satirical  or 
caricature  in  a  good-humoured  way,  recalls  more 
vividly  still  the  impression  of  the  passing  moment. 
Louis  Napoleon,  or,  as  Swinburne  called  him,  "the 
Beauharnais,"  was  now  in  his  glory  ;  Victor  Hugo, 
and  others  dear  to  all  of  us,  were  refugees.  Swin- 
burne, always  possessed  by  some  pet  subject  of 
hatred  or  admiration,  was  carried  away  by  un- 
governable   fury    at    the    success    of   the    wretched 


adventurer,  or  weak-minded  innocent,  now  settled 
in  the  Tuileries,  and  practised  his  ingenuity  in  in- 
venting tirades  against  him,  sometimes  full  of  humour 
and  splendour,  at  other  times  grossly  absurd.  Lady 
Trevelyan,  always  ready  to  enter  into  his  mood,  used 
to  assist  him  ;  but  learning  he  was  going  to  accom- 
pany his  family  to  France,  she  predicted  that  he 
would  be  caught  by  the  police,  and  sketched  the  fate 
that  awaited  him.  The  figure  of  A.  C.  S.  addressing 
the  people  was  wonderfully  good. 

I.  The  first  letter  I  find  is  from  my  best  friend 
and  letter- writer  of  that  day  (ist  March  185S), 
W.  M.  R.,  relating  to  the  formation  of  the  Hogarth 
Club,  of  which  I  have  spoken  before.  All  the  names 
on  the  list  of  the  proposed  Portfolio  Club  and  many 
more  were  enrolled,  the  only  important  one  not  among 
them  being  that  of  Millais,  who  could  not  join  a 
body  including  Ruskin.  The  only  non-artistic 
members  I  remember  meeting  were  Vernon  Lush- 
ington  and  his  brother  Godfrey,  sincere  and  intelli- 
gent lovers  of  art  and  its  professors  ;  and  in  many 
ways  Vernon  was  and  is  one  of  the  most  admirable 
of  men — I  knew  little  of  Godfrey.  This  club  ought  to 
have  been  still  in  existence,  and  under  able  manage- 
ment it  should  have  by  this  time  taken  a  place 
only  second  to  the  Royal  Academy  in  professional 
importance,  but  its  existence  was  short.  Ruskin 
was  the  first  dissentient :  the  committee  invested  in 
a  billiard  table,  which  he  took  as  an  insult,  as  he 
could  play  at  no  games,  so  he  left ;  then  the  arrange- 


ment  of  an  Exhibition  open  to  the  pubhc  on  payment, 
instead  of  a  changeable  show  of  pictures  open  only 
to  the  members'  friends,  brought  up  conflicting 
opinions.  Strangely  enough,  F.  M.  Brown  was  the 
opponent  of  the  scheme  ;  the  club  broke  up  under 
the  pressure  of  the  struggle. 

The  most  important  picture  shown  on  these 
semi-private  club  occasions  was  Martineau's  "  Last 
Day  in  the  Old  Home."  The  two  most  popular  of 
all  the  thousands  of  works  afterwards  shown  in  the 
International  Exhibition  of  1862  were  it  and  Brown's 
"  Last  of  England,"  in  which  he  painted  himself  and 
his  wife,  with  the  infant  Oliver  (afterwards  to  be 
mentioned)  in  her  lap.  I  may  say  of  this  picture 
parenthetically,  that  it  represents  w^hat  might  have 
been  a  fact  in  F.  M.  Brown's  career.  When 
Woolner  went  to  the  gold-fields,  and  Holman  Hunt 
was  hesitating  about  giving  up  painting.  Brown  had 
similar  plans  floating  in  his  mind,  only,  being  of  a 
reticent  nature,  and  also  slow  to  act,  he  neither 
talked  of  them  nor  put  them  in  practice,  except  in 
the  way  of  producing  this  record  of  them  after  he 
had  found  some  small  successes  at  home.  These 
successes  were  in  finding  a  "patron"  or  two,  the 
principal  being  my  friend  James  Leathart  of  New- 
castle, who,  with  my  advice,  made  an  excellent 
collection  of  the  works  of  the  new  men — Holman 
Hunt  and  Millais  to  begin  with,  then  Rossetti  and 
Arthur  HuQ^hes,  Martineau,  and  above  all,  F.  M. 

H.    Here  is   a    long   note  from    Holman    Hunt, 



much  of  it.  however,  about  his  affairs,  which  it  is 
needless  to  quote.  The  rest  is  mainly  about  a  new 
medium  in  painting  and  other  matters  of  his  studio, 
highly  worthy  of  record  to  the  initiated.  It  is  dated, 
Tor  Villa,  Campden  Hill,  Kensington,  i  ith  February 
i860,  while  he  was  finishing — a  long  process  extend- 
ing over  years — his  "Christ  in  the  Temple."  He 
says  he  had  put  away  my  "good-natured  letter"  to 
answer  at  leisure,  and  now  he  finds  it  a  month  and 
a  half  old,  and  is 

overpowered  by  the  feeling  that  no  protestations  of  mine 
will  convince  you  of  the  pleasure  I  had  in  receiving  it. 
You  know,  however,  that  we  are  not  always  able  to  do 
what  we  like  best,  and  so  will  believe  that  I  would  have 
sat  down  to  have  a  chat  with  you  about  \arnishes  and 
about  my  present  plans  and  engagements  long  ago,  if  I 
had  been  able.  .  .  .  Well  then  :  I  seldom  mix  my  copal 
and  turpentine  together,  not  because  there  would  be  any 
danger  to  the  permanency  of  the  work  by  such  proceeding, 
but  only  because  the  character  of  the  surface  obtained 
thereby  is  not  so  pleasant  to  my  taste  as  the  fat  full 
firmness  got  by  paint  in  its  pure  state  as  mixed  with  oil, 
or  when  compounded  only  with  copal.  To  avoid  the 
excess  of  this  quality  when  it  becomes  difficult  to  work,  1 
often  begin  by  modelling  all  out  with  a  turpentine  dilution 
of  the  copalled  pigment.  When  I  repaint  over  old  work, 
I  often,  too,  soften  the  surface  of  the  dry  ground,  and 
modify  the  colour  of  it  with  washes  of  turpentine  colour, 
a  dodge  which  has  many  advantages,  not  the  least  being 
that  it  enables  the  two  coats  of  paint  to  combine  together, 
as  if  painted  at  once,  and  thus  obviates  the  danger  of  one 
tearing  up  the  other.  You  will,  I  daresay,  have  found  out 
the  same  plan,  and  by  this  time  may  have  got  over  all 
your  difficulties  with  copal.    .   .   . 

I  had  written  him  about  a  small  water-colour,  a 

VOL.   II  E 

50  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

commission  from  a  friend  long  in  hand,  but  he  was 

unable  even  yet  to  say  much,  his  great  picture  being 

not  yet  quite  finished,  and  in  its  last  tedious  state  of 

finish  he  was  afraid  to  think  of  the  smallest  subject 

of  another  kind,  lest  he  should  be  seduced  from  the 

little  scrapings    and    stipplings-up   of   odd   corners, 

which  was  his  present  labour.     When  he  had  finished 

this  Temple  picture,  he  said  he  would  have  to  do  the 

same  service  for  two  other  Eastern  pictures  brought 

home,  and  several  sketches,  which  would  exhaust  his 

present  Oriental  mania,  so  that  he  would  be  glad  to 

clean  his  brushes  and  palette  for  open-air  practice 

somewhere    in     a    green     field    with     daisies    and 

country  lasses   sprinkled  about.      This   would   only 

be  a  temporary  aberration,  however,  for  he  cannot 

believe  that  art  should  let  such  beautiful  things  pass 

away,  as  are  now  passing  in  the  East,  without  any 

exertion  to  chronicle  them  for  the  future. 

So  I  promise  to  return  in  spirit  to  the  land  of  the 
good  Haroun  Al  Raschid,  if  I  can't  get  there  in  the  body 
before  the  year  is  out.  The  little  subject  Mr.  Crawhal 
wants  [this  was  the  water-colour  picture  a  friend  in  New- 
castle wanted  from  one  of  Hunt's  illustrations  to  Tenny- 
son's poems]  will  scarcely  require  me  to  fight  the  fates  in 
the  East,  so  I  think  I  may  promise  to  have  it  done  and 
forwarded  to  him,  or  kept  here  for  his  refusal,  without  the 
danger  of  its  being  touched  up  by  the  hand  of  a  quaran- 
tine officer  at  some  Syrian  seaport,  with  the  sharp  punch 
which  promotes  ventilation  at  all  risks  in  articles  pass- 
ing through  his  hands.  The  important  picture  for  Mr. 
Leathart  is  a  more  serious  affair,  because  I  don't  see  how 
I  can  paint  it  out  of  the  rotation  of  commissions  which 
are  of  some  depth — and  with  my  slow  brushes  will  require 
some  time.      As   I  never  or  rarely  undertake  special  com- 

D.    G.  ROSSETTI  51 

missions  for  settled  subjects,  but  merely  let  the  friends, 
one  after  another,  whose  names  are  down,  have  the  refusal 
of  each  as  finished,  it  is  possible  that  I  may  have  some- 
thing earlier  than  would  seem  likely.  I  always  try  to 
paint  every  new  picture  as  unlike  the  one  last  painted  as 
possible,  so  people  are  frequently  taken  by  surprise  when 
I  show  them  my  work,  and  thus  pictures  not  my  worst  at 
all,  pass  six  or  seven  applicants  before  they  are  taken  up. 
.  .  .  [He  hopes  I  won't  dread  incommoding  him  if  Mrs. 
Scott  and  I  should  be  coming  to  town,  and  will  be  his 
guests.]  I  live  so  regularly  that  a  lady  would  not  be  in 
my  way  at  all  ;  but  I  will  not  interfere  with  your  earlier 
plans.  If  you  come  alone,  however,  you  could  not  be 
more  conveniently  posted,  or  with  more  pleasure  to  your 
host,  than  here. 

This  note,  with  its  conscientious  particularity  and 
exactness  of  detail,  and  kind,  candid,  and  friendly 
spirit,  is  very  characteristic,  and  the  press  of  com- 
missions shows  the  mighty  revolution  in  his  fortunes 
after  the  popularity  of  the  "  Light  of  the  World  " 
had  confirmed  his  position. 

III.  The  process  of  finishing  here  described  is 
in  curious  contrast  to  that  indicated  by  Rossetti 
in  a  letter  received  about  the  same  time,  13th 
November  1859,  both  having  been  leaders  in  the 
same  movement.      He  says  : 

I  have  painted  a  half  figure  in  oil,  in  doing  which  I 
have  made  an  effort  to  avoid  what  I  know  to  be  a 
besetting  sin  of  mine,  and  indeed  rather  common  to  P.R. 
painting — that  of  stippling  on  the  flesh.  I  have  succeeded 
in  quite  keeping  the  niggling  process  at  a  distance  this 
time,  and  am  very  desirous  of  painting,  whenever  I  can 
find  leisure  and  opportunity,  various  figures  of  this  kind, 
chiefly  as  studies  of  rapid  flesh  painting.      I  am  sure  that 


among  the  many  botherations  of  a  picture  where  design, 
drawing,  expression,  and  colour  have  to  be  thought  of 
all  at  once  (and  this,  perhaps,  in  the  focus  of  the  four 
winds  out  of  doors,  or  at  any  rate  among  somnolent 
models,  ticklish  draperies,  and  toppling  lay  figures),  one 
can  never  do  justice  even  to  what  faculty  of  mere  paint- 
ing may  be  in  one.  Even  among  the  old  good  painters, 
their  portraits  and  simpler  pictures  are  almost  always  their 
masterpieces  for  colour  and  execution,  and  I  fancy  if  one 
kept  this  in  view  one  must  have  a  better  chance  of  learn- 
ing to  paint  at  last.  One  of  the  things  I  have  finished 
last  you  have  seen — the  "  Sir  Galahad."  But  far  more 
than  that  anything  done  I  have  been  struggling  in  a 
labyrinth  of  things  which  it  seems  impossible  to  get  on 
with,  and  things  which  it  seems  impossible  to  begin. 

This  letter  is  of  infinite  importance  in  the  history 
of  Rossettis  painting.  It  marks  the  first  success  in 
life-size  oil-painting,  and  the  practice  of  his  whole 
later  art-life  has  shown  increasing  mastery  over  half- 
length  female  figures  of  a  similar  type.  Millais  also 
before  this  time  had  protested  that  life  was  too  short 
to  continue  painting  in  detail  as  he  had  done  with 
such  amazing  rapidity  and  success.  He  was  now 
married,  full  of  commissions,  and  unable  to  take  up 
half  the  success  that  lav  to  his  hand.  As  to  the 
remark  about  the  old  masters,  Rossetti  had  not  seen 
any  of  their  chef-d'oeuvres,  never  .'/•/•' 

having  been  in  Italv  !  ^4W%. 

l\  .  Let  me    enter  here  some  _/ <' 
extracts  Irom    Lady    Trevelyan's 
friendly   notes.       In  her  more    familiar    letters    she 
used    often  to   address  me    as    Mr.    Porcupine,   the 


defensive    creature    being    drawn  neady  instead  of 

the    word,    and    sometimes    indulge    in  very    rare 

humour.     We   must    be  contented  with  only   such 
extracts  as  will  add  to  our  narrative, 

Wallingtox,  May  i860. 
I  have  finished  my  panel  and  am  prepared  for  any 
amount  of  abuse  you  may  be  pleased  to  bestow  upon  it.  .  .  . 
I  have  not  heard  lately  from  Algernon,  but  what  I  hear 
of  him  is  good.  He  has  passed  for  his  degree,  and  he 
has  written  a  poem  (for  the  Oxford  competition  on  TJie 
Loss  of  Sir  John  Franklin)  which  his  father  and  people  like 
very  much.  I  am  glad  the  Academy  have  ill-used  the 
Preraffs,  it  will  perhaps  lop  off  some  rotten  branches 
in  the  shape  of  weak  brethren,  who  paint  bone- 
less imitations  of  the  school  and  bring  discredit  on  it. 
If  these  are  convinced  it  is  unpopular  and  does  not  pay 
they  will  give  it  up,  which  will  be  an  unmixed  good. 
I  believe  Mr.  Ruskin  is  only  going  to  Switzerland  for 
the  summer.  He  will  never  go  away  for  a  very  long 
period  while  his  father  and  mother  are  living.  He  has 
always  said  that  but  for  them  he  would  go  and  live  in 
some  favourite  place  in  Switzerland.  I  shall  be  very 
thankful  if  he  doesn't  write  the  XoUs  this  year,  for  he  is 
quite  tired  with  his  last  volume,  which  he  is  just  finishing  ; 
and  if  he  does  Notes  at  all,  he  should  do  them  with  all 
his  strength  instead  of  half  in  joke,  and  at  the  end  of  six 
months'  hard  work,  while  longing  for  a  holiday.  Is 
Hunt's  bargain  really  concluded  ?  We  expect  to  go 
south  on  Monday,  when  I  will  write  you  again. 

V.   Next  from  London.  June  i860: 

I  am  glad  to  hear  a  good  account  of  you  from 
Sir  Walter,  and  that  he  had  the  pleasure  of  entertaining 
the  School  of  Art,  students,  inspector,  and  all,  at  a  pic- 
nic.     I   can   only  wish  you    had  had  a  finer  day  for  it. 


How  was  the  light  for  seeing  the  Hall  ?  Holman  Hunt 
spent  an  evening  here  very  well  and  jolly.  He  is 
finishing  up  odds  and  ends  that  have  been  put  aside  for 
the  great  picture,  and  is  very  diligent  at  rifle-drill.  My 
brother  Roland  is  also  up  and  off  to  Walham  Green 
ever}-  morning  at  seven,  for  ball  practice,  spending 
bushels  of  cartridges.  Yesterday  I  sent  you  a  paper 
about  Captain  Snow's  Arctic  search  :  he  is  to  lecture  at 
Newcastle  on  the  19th  and  collect  subscriptions.  Now 
I  conjure  you  by  all  you  believe  in,  mist}'  philosophy, 
gooseberry  pie,  and  anything  else  equalh-  sacred  to  you, 
go  to  hear  him  and  make  others  go.  Do  puff,  do 
ventilate  the  subject  and  make  others  take  an  interest  in 
it.  If  they  don't  care  for  the  records  and  Journal,  there 
is  always  a  chance  of  finding  some  of  the  crew  alive  ;  if 
they  don't  care  for  those,  they  may  be  moved  by  our  old 
flag  going  first  round  the  world  by  the  Arctic  route  and 
not  leaving  that  triumph  to  the  stars  and  stripes,  which 
will  be  before  us  as  sure  as  fate,  if  we  don't  mind. 
I  have  set  m}'  whole  heart  on  this  search  ;  read  the 
Saturday  Rcvieiv  of  this  week  about  it.   .   .   . 

Seatox,  Axminster,  Aiignst  1S60. 
VI.  I  have  been  ver}-  long  without  writing,  but  I  have 
been  awfull}'  bus}'.  I  always  am  so  here,  where  I  am 
among  my  lace  people.  Sir  Walter  gave  me  }-our  note  about 
the  spandrels.  They  have  hung  on  hand  shamefully,  but 
as  we  have  been  awa}'  this  summer,  I  suppose  we  shall 
stay  at  Wallington  in  winter,  and  then  I'll  paint  the  yew, 
and  the  fir,  and  an}-thing  one  can  get  in  winter,  and  be 
very  industrious.  Dreadful  weather  ivc  have  had,  no  paint- 
ing out  of  doors,  but  I  suppose  it  was  all  sunshine  while 
you  were  with  Miss  Boyd  —  that  was  so  of  course. 
Holman  Hunt  wrote  the  other  day  to  ask  if  the  white 
lilies  were  to  be  had,  and  offered  to  go  down  and  do 
them,  but  of  course  the}^  are  dead  and  gone  weeks  ago  ; 
so  I  told  him  if  he  will  be  in  England  next  lily  season, 
we  would  wait  for  that  ;  but  if  not,  he  must  come  to  us 
as  soon   as  we  get  back   and   do  dahlias,  or  sunflower,  or 


what  we  can  get.  He  was  just  starting  on  a  tour  with 
Alfred  Tennyson  to  Brittany,  and  I  have  not  got  his 
answer.  This  was  a  week  ago.  Things  get  on  so 
slowly  here  when  we  are  away.  Sir  Walter  has  determined 
not  to  leave  till  our  school  is  finished  and  its  work  started. 
]\Ir.  Woodward  is  also  designing  some  seaside  houses 
for  us,  but  it  is  such  a  dear  little  place.  I  don't  complain 
of  staying  on.  .  .  .  We  have  been  in  the  west  of 
Cornwall,  where  the  red  geranium  grows  up  to  the  bed- 
room windows,  and  we  found  Mr.  Nash  painting  at 
Kyname  Cove  :  he  had  been  on  the  same  picture  for  ten 
weeks.  .  .  .  What  are  you  doing  now  ?  smoking  and 
getting  fat  in  }-our  new  studio  ?  I  expect  to  find  you 
fearfully  fat  and  stupid  when  I  come  home.  Is  Grace 
Darling  finished  ?  Is  she  fearfully  and  wonderfully  ugly  ? 
[I  answered  that  Grace  Darling  was  too  far  in  storm  to 
be  anything,  but  that  the  principal  figure  nearly  the  size 
of  life — the  woman  whose  child  had  died  in  her  bosom 
unknown  to  her— was  wonderfully  noble,  having  been 
painted  from  Miss  Boyd.]  Woolner  can't  get  a  block 
of  marble  at  present  to  do  the  Fairbairn  children,  so  he 
has  been  working  on  our  group.  Dr.  Acland  had  a 
gloomy  voyage  with  the  Prince  to  Canada.  They  were 
in  a  dense  fog  as  soon  as  they  started,  so  wet  a  fog  that 
their  clothes,  beds,  everything,  were  damp  the  whole  time 
till  they  were  about  150  miles  from  Newfoundland,  when 
they  suddenly  sailed  into  bright  clear  air  all  ablaze  with  a 
brilliant  sunset,  and  they  saw  the  fog  behind  them  like  a 
thick  white  curtain  from  sea  to  skv. 

S EATON,  October  1S60. 

VII.  I  think  I  had  a  letter  from  you  since  I  wrote — 
the  one  describing  your  "  Grace  Darling"  picture,  which  we 
have  not  yet  seen,  in  which  you  go  in  as  a  great  marine 
painter,  which,  no  doubt,  you  ought  to  be  considering 
your  great  love  of  the  sea  and  your  passion  for  voyaging 
upon  it,  so  that  you  are  a  sort  of  a  fat  peaceable  sea-king. 
Not  like  that  "  Cockney  Turner,"  who  used   to  go  for  a 


voyage  whenever    he    could,   and   had   himself    lashed   to 
the  mast  to  watch  storms  when  they  came. 

I  am  afraid  we  shall  not  see  much  of  Algernon  in 
the  north  now  dear  kind  Sir  John  Swinburne  is  gone. 
What  a  loss  he  is  !  It  seems  ridiculous  to  feel  as  if  a 
man  of  ninety-eight  had  died  too  soon,  yet  he  certainly 
has,  for  he  enjoyed  life  and  added  to  the  enjoyment  of 
many  other  people.  The  shock  of  Sir  Henry  Ward's 
death  was  the  exciting  cause  of  his  last  illness. 

I  have  been  reading  Mr.  Woolner's  poem.  Some  of 
it  is  very  fine  and  there  is  a  great  deal  of  himself  in  it  ; 
but  doubtless  you  will  have  seen  or  heard  most  of  it. 
I  was  in  some  hopes  that  the  Tennysons  would  have 
come  to  Wallington  when  we  returned  there,  but  that 
has  had  to  be  given  up,  and  they  have  gone  back  to  the 
Isle  of  Wight  to  receive  some  guests.  Holman  Hunt 
was  left  somewhere  near  Falmouth  making  sketches. 

I  have  taken  advantage  of  some  fine  days  to  try  and 
make  a  little  oil  study  of  some  plants  out  of  doors,  but  of 
course  I  got  into  many  troubles.  Hang  the  oil-colours  !  ! 
why  do  they  look  so  bright  and  strong  and  jolly,  and  in 
two  or  three  days  go  in  and  are  all  dim  and  dingy  ?  The 
picture  seems  to  want  varnish.  Must  it  wait  for  a  year, 
till  it  is  quite  hard,  before  it  is  varnished  ?  Now,  I'll  be 
civil  if  you'll  help  me — I  hope  Mrs.  Scott  is  well,  and 
that  you've  given  up  smoking. 

Some  allusions  in  these  extracts  require  com- 
mentary. Above  all  others,  there  is  the  first 
mention  of  Miss  Boyd,  so  dear  to  me  from  that 
time  till  the  present  moment  of  writing.  On  the 
1 8th  March  1859,  though  I  have  omitted  to  record 
the  incident,  while  I  was  painting  Bernard  Gilpin 
addressing  the  borderers  in  the  church  of  Rothbury 
after  having  taken   down   the  gage   of  battle  from 

Etchea  by  WB.S.from  a.  Drawing  iyD-GU. 


the  wall,  I  had  a  visit  from  a  lady  some  few  years 
over  thirty,  ill  and  weary  from  watching  by  the 
death -bed  of  her  mother.  I  had  not  heard  her 
name  before.  She  wanted  to  find  a  new  interest 
in  life,  and  thought  to  find  it  in  art.  She  was 
somehow  or  other  possessed,  to  me,  of  the  most 
interesting  face  and  voice  I  had  ever  heard  or 
seen.  I  devoted  myself  to  answer  this  desire  of 
hers,  and  from  day  to  day  the  interest  on  either 
side  increased.  At  this  moment  I  am  sitting,  on 
a  fearfully  wet  day,  in  her  old  family  castle.  Pen- 
kill,  in  Ayrshire,  where  all  these  notes  have  been 
written.  This  ancient  house  has  been  my  summer 
home  and  that  of  my  wife,  for  many  years,  and 
all  the  friends,  with  few  exceptions,  mentioned  in 
these  pages  have  come  to  see  us  here  ;  the  winter 
half  of  the  year  Miss  Boyd  is  our  guest  in  London. 
As  important  in  my  life  as  Wallington,  infinitely 
more  so,  indeed,  the  name  will  be  or  ought  to  be 
the  principal  one  in  my  later  pages. 

YIII.  From  my  dear  W.  M.  R..  14th  May  i860. 
He  had  kindly  sent  me  a  summary  of  about  twenty 
pages  of  the  history  of  Sordello — I  ought  to  call 
it  an  explanatory  essay  on  Browning's  poem.  Un- 
happily I  thought  this  nearly  as  obscure  as  the 
poem  itself.      He  says  : 

As  to  Sordello,  I  must  give  you  up,  hoping  that  the 
pains  of  heresy  don't  await  you  round  the  corner  some- 
where or  other.  The  particulars  of  his  life  given — Jiot 
given,  you  would  say — by  Browning  are  nearer  the 
truth   than   most  people   suppose,  or  at  least  nearer  some 

58  WILLIAM  DELL   SCOTT  chap. 

versions  and  hints  of  the  truth,  for  his  Hfe  is  involved  in 
great  obscurity.  I  have  read  the  notice  of  him  in  Nostra- 
damus's  Lives  of  tJic  Provencal  Poets,  and  there  is  an 
extended  account  of  him  in  Tiraboschi's  ItaHan  hterature 
which  I  shall  look  carefully  into  one  day.  [All  of  which 
he  might  very  reasonably  have  saved  himself  the  trouble 
of  doing.]  The  sale  of  Hunt's  picture  is  now  settled  ; 
if  the  arrangement  of  which  he  told  me  yesterday  week 
came  to  pass,  as  I  cannot  doubt  it  did,  Gambart  buys 
the  picture  with  copyright  for  ;{J^5  500,  of  which  ;^3000 
was  to  be  paid  last  Wednesday,  and  the  remainder  in 
bills  at  eighteen  months.  This  is  a  miraculous  draught 
of  fishes,  though  I  have  little  doubt  that  Gambart,  being 
a  wide-awake  man,  will  pay  himself  splendidly  for  the 
outlay  by  exhibition  and  engraving,  and  finally  by  the 
re-sale  of  the  picture,  which  will  have  accumulated  a  huge 
reputation  meanwhile.  A  little  time  ago  the  receipts 
at  the  door  were  ^30  a  da)-,  and  a  very  easy  sum  in 
arithmetic  will  show  what  this  would  come  to  throughout 
the  year.  I  concur  as  to  the  poorness  of  what  has  been 
written  about  the  picture.  The  one  in  Fraser  ought  to 
be  above  the  average  :  it  is  by  a  son  of  Sir  F.  Palgrave. 
I  have  not  seen  it  yet.  The  author  has  already  published 
various  things,  especially  an  anonymous  book  called  the 
Passionate  Pilgi'iin,  which  evokes  the  enthusiasm  of  Pat- 
more  and  some  others.  ...  I  have  always  been  curious 
to  see  what  you  make  of  "  Grace  Darling,"  and  trust  it 
will  be  in  my  power,  as  a  conscientious  and  eminent  critic, 
to  pat  your  breakers  on  the  head. 

W.  M.  R.  next  asks  me  if  I  knew  that  Gabriel 
is  about  to  marry  or,  perhaps,  is  now  married  to 
Miss  Siddal,  whom  you  have  heard  about  and 
possibly  seen  ?  The  family  had  been  a  Httle  taken 
by  surprise  at  receiving  from  him  at  Hastings, 
about  a  month  before,  the  definite  announcement 
of  the   forthcomincr  event,    then   to   be   enacted  as 

IV  D.    G.  R:S  marriage  59 

soon  as  possible.  Still  later  he  had  determined 
that  it  might  possibly  be  on  last  Saturday,  his 
thirty-second  birthday.  She  is  in  the  opinion  of 
every  one  a  beautiful  creature  with  fine  powers 
and  sweet  character.  If  only  her  health  should 
become  firmer  after  marriage,  William  thinks  it 
will  be  a  happy  match.  At  all  events  he  is  glad 
that  Gabriel  is  settled  upon  it.  "  He  leaves  Black- 
friars,  but  I  think  has  not  yet  managed  to  suit 
himself  elsewhere."  This  sudden  news  was  the 
first  I  heard  of  Gabriel's  marriage  ;  nor  did  either 
I  or  his  own  family  hear  directly  from  him  for 
some  little  time  after.  Instead  of  leavinQ-  Black- 
friars  he  at  last  appeared  there  with  his  wife, 
where  he  fitted  up  another  room  or  two  and 
continued  to  live  till  her  death. 

IX.  Three  months  later  (in  the  summer  of 
i860)  I  was  for  the  first  time  visiting  Miss  Boyd 
and  her  brother  at  Penkill  Castle  in  Ayrshire. 
My  wife  was  in  London,  and  writes  me  about  the 
people  she  meets. 

I  am  truly  glad  [she  says]  you  are  in  such  good 
company  as  Miss  Boyd  and  her  brother,  and  finding 
such  delightful  landscape  subjects  in  the  glen.  .  .  .  On 
Wednesday  we  drove  to  the  top  of  Highgate  Hill,  where 
is  S.  Mary  Magdalene  Home.  We  spent  a  pleasant  day 
with  the  sisters  and  penitents  in  the  open  air,  the  Bishop 
of  London,  etc.  etc.  .  .  .  Christina  is  now  an  Associate, 
and  wore  the  dress,  which  is  very  simple,  elegant  even  ; 
black  with  hanging  sleeves,  a  muslin  cap  with  lace  edging 
quite  becoming  to  her  with  the  veil.  Yesterda\-,  at  All 
Saints,  whence  Christina  and   I  went  to  see  Woolner  and 

6o  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

the  marble  group  for  Wallington,  which  is  now  going 
on.  It  is  beautiful  :  and  there,  too,  at  last  I  have  met 
Tennyson.  In  the  evening  we  had  a  party  of  about 
twelve,  among  whom  were  Mr.  E.  Burne-Jones  and  his 
wife.  She  is  pretty,  a  very  little  creature,  indeed,  and 
sang  the  ballad  of  "  Green  Sleeves  "  and  others  in  loud 
wild  tones  quite  novel  and  charming.  E.  B,  J.  I  think 
extremely  like  a  tall  boy  from  school.  William  Morris 
and  his  wife  also  looked  in,  but  only  for  a  few  minutes, 
having  to  go  out  of  town  by  railway.  You  have  not  yet 
seen  either  of  these  ladies,  and  I  now  heard  that  Mrs. 
Gabriel  Rossetti  has  not  yet  been  seen  in  his  mother's 
house,  and  has  been  invisible  to  every  one.  I  can't 
think  what  countrywoman  Mrs.  Morris  is  like,  not  an 
Englishwoman  certainly  ;  but  she  did  not  untie  her 
bonnet,  their  hour  by  the  train  being  at  hand.  Mrs. 
D.  G.  R.  has  been  ill  —  I  suppose  this  preventing  her 
coming  out  :  she  was  really  dangerously  ill  on  their 
return  from  Paris,  where  she  had  been  so  well.  Gabriel 
has  been  planning  to  take  up  his  abode  there.  It  seems 
Mrs.  Madox  Brown  and  her  mother  have  been  associated 
intimately  somehow,  so  she  is  with  her  every  day.  All  we 
little  women  looked  quite  diminutive  beside  Mrs.  Morris. 

These  few  words  serve  to  show  how  nearly  in 
point  of  time  these  matrimonial  affairs  came  to- 
gether ;  unless,  indeed,  the  two  now  first  mentioned 
above  had  not  been  late  events,  although  the  ladies 
were  new  to  my  wife.  The  Morris  party  going  out 
of  town  indicates  that  the  house  he  built  after  his 
marriage,  the  Red  House,  was  already  inhabited 
by  them  ;  and  we  must  remember  that  the  painting 
of  the  Union  gallery  at  Oxford,  if  it  had  no  artistic 
result,  had  an  important  one  on  the  fate  of  William 
Morris.  One  evening,  after  the  labours  of  the  day, 
the  volunteer  artists  of  the  Union  resfaled  themselves 


by  going  to  the  theatre,  and  there  they  beheld  in  the 
front  box  above  them  what  all  declared  to  be  the 
ideal  personification  of  poetical  womanhood.  In 
this  case  the  hair  was  not  auburn,  but  black  as 
night ;  unique  in  face  and  figure,  she  was  a  queen,  a 
Proserpine,  a  Medusa,  a  Circe — but  also,  strangely 
enough,  a  Beatrice,  a  Pandora,  a  Virgin  Mary. 
They  made  interest  with  her  family,  and  she  sat  to 
them.  Morris  was  at  that  time  sworn  to  be  a 
painter ;  she  sat  to  him  ;  he  forthwith  ventured  to 
propose  marriage,  and  here  they  were,  starting  for 
his  new  house  at  Upton.  In  this  house  I  first  saw 
her.  It  was  designed  by  Morris  in  what  he  called 
the  style  of  the  thirteenth  century.  The  only  thing 
you  saw  from  a  distance  was  an  immense  red-tiled, 
steep,  and  high  roof ;  and  the  only  room  I  remember 
was  the  dining-room  or  hall,  which  seemed  to  occupy 
the  whole  area  of  the  mansion.  It  had  a  fixed  settle 
all  round  the  walls,  a  curious  music-gallery  entered 
by  a  stair  outside  the  room,  breaking  out  high  upon 
the  gable,  and  no  furniture  but  a  long  table  of  oak 
reaching  nearly  from  end  to  end.  This  vast  empty 
hall  was  painted  coarsely  in  bands  of  wild  foliage 
over  both  wall  and  ceiling,  which  was  open-timber 
and  lofty.  The  adornment  had  a  novel,  not  to  say 
startling,  character,  but  if  one  had  been  told  it  was 
the  South  Sea  Island  style  of  thing  one  could  have 
easily  believed  such  to  be  the  case,  so  bizarre  was 
the  execution.  This  eccentricity  was  very  easily 
understood  after  a  little  consideration.  Genius 
always  rushes  to  extremes  at  first ;  on  leaving  the 


beaten  track  of  every  day  no  medium  is  to  be  pre- 
served. The  repudiation  of  whatever  is  modern  in 
sentiment  is  immediate.  There  was  the  hatred  of 
Louis  XIV.,  and  all  possible  relation  to  school 
advice  and  Birmino^ham  taste.  Morris  did  what- 
ever  seemed  good  to  him  unhesitatingly,  and  it  has 
been  very  good  :  not  "  Songs  of  the  x-Vrt-Catholic," 
certainly,  but  "  Songs  of  mediaeval  life "  ;  The 
Earthly  Paradise  has  been  the  ultimate  result. 
In  ornament  he  succeeds  not  quite  so  well,  but  he 
has  made  an  important  position  ;  by  and  by  he  will 
likely  do  better  than  anybody  else. 

X.  Here  under  date  of  5th  October  is  some- 
thing at  last  from  D.  G.  R.  ;  as  usual,  I  make  use  of 
the  letter  only  to  carry  forward  my  story — - 

Many  thanks  for  your  note  with  its  inquiries  regarding 
my  wife,  who  I  trust  improves  gradually.  She  is  certainly 
stronger  now  than  some  months  back,  and  the  approach 
of  winter  does  not  seem  to  hurt  her  yet.  We  sent  no 
cards,  too  much  trouble  you  know,  or  certainly  you 
would  have  got  some.  My  wedding-trip  was  rather  pro- 
longed, and  no  place  out  of  my  studio  must  know  me 
this  autumn,  in  spite  of  various  invitations,  tempting  to 
wife  and  self. 

Soon  after  he  writes  again  : 

Lizzie  is  gone  for  a  few  days  to  stay  with  the  IMorrises  at 
their  Red  House  at  Upton,  and  I  am  to  join  her  there 
to-morrow,  but  shall  probably  return  before  her,  as  I  am 
full  of  things  to  do,  and  could  not  go  there  at  all,  but 
that  I  have  a  panel  to  paint  there.  I  shall  soon  be  taking 
up  Leathart's  picture,  almost  immediatel}-,  but  have  been 
much  interrupted  lately  by  getting  settled. 

D.    G.    ROSSETTI  63 

This  was  the  picture  he  now  called  "  Found," 
and  this  reference  to  it  did  not,  I  fear,  really  indicate 
any  intention  of  taking  it  up.  My  friend  Leathart 
had  bought  it  at  my  recommendation,  and  paid  for 
it,  as  the  figures  were  nearly  done,  but  strange  to 
say,  the  background  and  the  perspective  baffled  him. 
He  never  carried  out  the  proposal  to  bring  it  down 
and  paint  it  with  me  beside  him  at  Hexham,  but  had 
tried  to  carry  it  out  by  himself  over  and  over,  and 
from  the  first  had  got  the  simple  matter  of  perspec- 
tive into  a  muddle.  .As  years  went  on  Leathart 
became  impatient,  the  arrangement  was  annulled, 
with  my  intervention,  to  enable  him  to  return  the 
money  :  the  picture  never  was  finished. 

I  wish  you  could  see  how  comfortable  we  have  made 
ourselves.  And,  by  the  bye,  we  have  always  a  spare  bed- 
room, which  please  do  not  forget  when  you  and  Mrs.  Scott 
come  to  town. 

This  friendly  invitation  was  never  available, 
indeed  could  only  have  been  so  for  the  next  season  : 
before  a  second  summer  D.  G.  R.'s  married  life  was 
cut  short  by  his  wife's  tragic  death. 






The  auguries  of  happiness  from  his  marriage,  enter- 
tained by  some  of  Rossetti's  friends,  were  frightfully 
dispelled.  For  myself,  knowing  Gabriel  better  than 
his  brother  did,  though  from  the  outside,  I  knew 
marriage  was  not  a  tie  he  had  become  able  to  bear. 
His  former  bachelor  habit  of  working  till  9  p.m.,  then 
rushing  out  to  dine  at  a  restaurant,  was  continued  ; 
Mrs.  Siddal  Rossetti,  little  accustomed  to  the  cares 
and  habits  of  domestic  life,  willingly  conforming. 
She  had  become  a  genius  in  art,  imitating  her 
husband's  inventions  in  water-colours  in  a  way  I 
clearly  saw  to  be  damaging  to  the  peculiarities  of  his 
own  works,  though  her  uneducated  performances 
were  at  once  praised  by  him  immoderately.  After 
her  death  we  heard  nothing  from  Gabriel,  or  from 
any  of  the  family,  till  he  wanted  me  to  be  again  his 
banker  to  enable  him  to  leave  Chatham  Place,  where 
he  had   not  slept  since  the  sad   event.      He   then, 

D.    G.   ROSSETTI  65 

after  a  temporary  abode  in  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields, 
took  the  Chelsea  house,  16  Cheyne  Walk,  where  he 
remained,  and  began  a  professional  success  which 
increased  through  all  the  rest  of  his  career. 

To  return  for  a  moment  to  the  great  trial  of  his 
life.  In  ignorance  of  the  main  circumstances,  and 
in  obedience  to  a  desire  to  comfort  him,  on  receipt  of 
his  letter  about  leaving  Blackfriars  I  ventured  to 
tell  him  I  never  thought  him  fitted  for  a  Benedict ; 
but  even  to  this  he  replied  nothing,  though  long 
after  his  mental  prostration  had  subsided,  and  his 
MS.  book  of  poems  was  buried  with  her,  I  had  to 
listen,  alas,  too  much  to  the  painful  narrative.  On 
the  eventful  night  they  had  dined  as  usual  at  a  cafe- 
restaurant  ;  he  had  returned  home  with  her,  advised 
her  to  go  to  bed,  and  unheedingly  taken  himself  out 
again.  On  his  next  and  final  home-coming  he  had 
to  grope  about  for  a  light,  and  called  to  her  without 
receiving  a  reply.  What  was  said  or  done  at  the 
inquest  I  know  not. 

Time  is  the  great  physician,  but  for  the  next 
seven  years,  till  his  first  autumn  visit  to  Penkill  in 
1868,  he  wrote  scarcely  a  line  of  poetry,  except 
sonnets  for  pictures.  Why  he  revenged  himself  thus 
on  his  distinguishing  faculty  I  never  could  tell. 
When  success  in  painting,  properly  speaking,  first 
began  on  his  acquiring  a  larger  style  on  a  large 
scale,  he  became  for  him  proportionately  gay  and 
hospitable,  carefully  hiding  the  wound  which,  how- 

VOL.   II  F 

66  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

ever,  continued  to  bite  like  the  Spartan's  fox.  He 
had  a  marquee  erected  in  the  garden  in  which  he 
entertained  in  the  evenings,  and  at  same  time  con- 
structed enclosures  and  cages  for  animals  and  birds. 
But,  on  the  other  hand,  he  began  to  call  up  the 
spirit  of  his  wife  by  table-turning.  Curious  to  be 
present  at  this  serious  divertisement,  and  not  with- 
out hope  of  undeceiving  him  in  this  matter  of  spirit- 
ualism, I  went  one  evening  by  appointment.  I 
refused  to  make  one  at  the  table  unless  I  saw  the 
medium's  feet  all  the  time,  as  well  as  those  of  the 
table.  This  being  indignantly  objected  to  by  him 
(not  by  her !)  the  sdmice  was  broken  up.  I  never 
went  back,  objecting  to  see  him  believing  so  im- 
plicitly in  a  creature  so  abject. 

This  attempt  of  mine  to  be  present  was  four 
years  after  his  wife's  death  ;  it  was  in  1866,  but 
long  before  that  year  a  common  friend  had  written 
to  me  :  "  One  thing  I  must  remember  to  tell  you. 
Our  old  friend  Gabriel  has  gone  into  spiritualism, 
and  fancies  he  can  call  up  bogies,  and  make  them 
knock  on  a  table,  I  am  exceedingly  sorry.  There 
is  only  one  consolation,  it  does  not  follow  as  a 
necessity  that  a  man's  friends  will  be  obliged  to 
confine  him  for  such  irrational  doings.  Many  have 
done  this  for  years,  pursuing  their  ordinary  avoca- 
tions, insane  only  on  one  point."  Other  indications 
of  unrest  were  soon  apparent,  resulting  from  a 
confusion  between  external  realities  and  mental 
impressions,  suggesting  the  question  of  what  might 
further  develop  in  future  life. 


To  return  to  my  own  affairs.  The  suggestion 
that  I  should  exhibit  in  London  the  eight  large 
pictures,  now  drawing  to  a  close,  was  carried  out,^ 
but  Gambart  pushed  it  over  the  season  for  other 
more  promising  ventures ;  the  Exhibition  did  little 

The  decoration  of  Wallington,  however,  left 
room  for  other  artistic  labours  besides  my  own, 
which  deserve  to  be  recorded.  In  one  of  Lady  T.'s 
letters,  already  quoted,  she  speaks  of  Holman 
Hunt's  going  there  to  paint  a  pilaster,  and  Ruskin's 
visit  to  do  so  has  been  mentioned.  Hunt  never 
managed  to  do  this,  but  Arthur  Hughes  and  others 
did,  especially  Mrs.  Mark  Pattison,  at  that  time 
lately  married  to  the  Master  of  Lincoln,  and  one  of 
the  most  perfectly  lovely  women  in  the  world.  She 
is  now  distinguishing  herself  in  literature,  but  then 
she  gave  proof  of  great  ability  in  painting.  The 
group  in  marble  for  the  centre  of  the  Hall  suggests 
a  little  history.  "  Sturdy  old  Woolner,"  as  \V.  j\L  R. 
calls  him  in  a  friendly  colloquialism,  was  invited 
there  through  me.  When  I  proposed  the  visit  to 
him  I  found  him  in  a  disposition  to  revenge  himself 
on  the  world  at  large  for  his  want  of  success.  At 
first  he  swore  loudly  that  he  would  not  go  near  any 
people  with  handles  to  their  names  ;  they  were  all 
"  devastators  of  the  day,  maggots  in  the  wounds  of 
us  poor  devils  who  have  to  fight  the  battle  of  life  ; 
Carlyle  thought  so,  and  also  Tennyson!"  His 
phraseology   was    sometimes    very    strong,   but    his 

1   [In  1861,  see  vol.  ii.  p.  7. — Ed.] 

68  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

bark  being  worse  than  his  bite,  he  did  come,  and 
was  commissioned  to  prepare  this  sculpture.  He 
was  to  summarise  the  result  of  all  the  surrounding 
history,  a  vague  motive  which  at  last  suggested 
the  beautiful  work  he  produced,  and  which  is  now 

The  commission  was  a  pleasant  surprise  to  me, 
and  was  the  beginning  of  immense  success  to  him, 
but,  unfortunately,  it  was  the  mistaken  cause  of  the 
loss  of  my  friend,  Alexander  Munro.  Munro  had 
been  with  me  to  Wallington  more  than  once  ;  the 
year  before  Woolner's  visit  he  had  there  modelled 
both  his  host  and  hostess,  afterwards  executing  one 
of  them  in  marble  ;  and  he  jumped  to  the  conclu- 
sion that  but  for  me  being  interested  in  a  brother 
poet,  Woolner  would  never  have  stepped  in.  At  the 
opening  of  the  International  Exhibition  of  1862 
the  feud  between  the  two  sculptors — a  feud  of  long 
growth  previously — was  the  cause  of  a  public 
scandal,  through  the  Official  Catalogue  of  the  sculp- 
ture there  collected  giving  vent  to  a  murderous 
criticism  against  Munro's  works.  The  sanction  of 
the  Royal  Commissioners  to  the  publication  was 
withdrawn,  but  the  evil  was  done.  Munro  never 
recovered  his  position,  and,  as  the  fates  would  have 
it,  he  was  shordy  after  attacked  by  a  mortal  illness 
that  sent  him  to  Cannes  to  seek  recovery,  where  he 
remained  the  rest  of  his  life. 

One  more  anecdote  about  ever-dear  Wallington 
and  its  inmates.  It  was  close  upon  Christmas  of 
1862,  when  we — that  is,  the  Newcastle  group,  Miss 

V  A.    C.   SWINBURNE  69 

Boyd,  Letitia,  and  myself — were  preparing  to 
change  the  scene  by  flitting  to  the  wild  sea-coast 
at  Tynemouth  for  a  holiday,  when  Woolner  passed 
through  on  his  way  north  to  see  Sir  Walter.  Two 
days  later,  early  in  the  forenoon — when  we  were 
great-coated  and  packed  for  the  railway,  Swinburne 
suddenly  appeared,  having  posted  to  Morpeth  from 
Wallington  early  that  morning.  Why  so  early  "^  he 
could  not  well  explain  ;  just  thought  he  had  been 
long  enough  there !  he  wanted  letters  at  the  post, 
but  had  not  given  his  address !  I  could  inquire  no 
further ;  there  appeared  to  be  some  mystery  he  did 
not  wish  to  explain  ;  we  went  by  a  later  train,  and 
he  would  accompany  us.  So  we  had  him  to  walk 
with  us  by  the  much -resounding  sea,  v/hen  he 
declaimed  the  Hynin  to  Proserpine  and  Laits 
Veneris,  two  of  the  most  lovely,  perfect,  and 
passionate  among  the  triumphs  of  his  best  period 
of  poetic  performance,  never  to  be  forgotten  when 
recited  in  his  strange  intonation,  which  truly  repre- 
sented the  white  heat  of  the  enthusiasm  that  had 
produced  them.  The  sea,  too,  was  in  sympathy, 
the  breaking  waves  running  the  whole  length  of  the 
long  level  sands  towards  Cullercoats,  and  sounding 
like  far-off  acclamations. 

My  series  of  pictures  being  finished,  and  a  com- 
plete change  effected  in  the  organisation  of  Govern- 
ment Schools  of  Art,  so  that  we  early  masters 
appointed  by  the  Board  of  Trade  had  the  option  of 

70  WILLIAM  BELL  SCOTT  chap. 

retiring  with  a  small  pension  ;  proximity  to  Edin- 
burgh being  besides  unnecessary  now  my  family 
was  extinct ;   I  returned  to  London  in  1864. 

When  we  prepared  to  leave  Newcastle,  we  met 
with  various  demonstrations  of  kindness,  in  the  way 
of  public  meetings,  and  I  took  with  me  a  commission 
for  a  picture  of  the  building  of  the  "  New  Castle  " 
by  the  son  of  William  the  Conqueror.  Also  for 
eighteen  pictures  for  the  upper  spandrels  of  Wal- 
lington  Hall,  representing  the  history  of  Chevy 
Chase,  from  Earl  Percy's  going  out  to  the  bringing 
home  of  the  dead. 

If  a  man,  artist,  Iitte7'ate2tr\  or  other,  with  a 
specific  professional  object,  lives  in  the  country,  he 
may  live  a  higher  life  than  in  town,  but  out  of  daily 
collision  with  other  men,  his  fellows  in  literature  or 
what  not,  he  ceases  to  strive  as  they  do  for  the 
objects  they  value.  He  sees  better  because  he  takes 
a  bird's-eye  view  of  the  battle,  and  finds  that  many 
things  struggled  for  are  not  worth  having.  The 
game  is  not  worth  the  candle.  Yet  is  it  necessary 
for  him  to  live  in  society — for  even  the  poet.  The 
acres  of  flatness  in  Wordsworth  belong  to  the 
country  life  he  led  ;  his  innovations  and  inspired 
work  to  his  association  with  Coleridoe  and  others. 

We  settled  down  in  Elgin  Road,  Notting  Hill. 
.  .  .  Being  now  again  in  London  with  an  oppor- 
tunity of  entertaining  my  friends,  I  tried  to  bring 
some  of  them  about  me  again,  and  I  may  here  give 
some  relics  of  the  process.  Meadows,  I  was  one 
day  told,  was  still  to  be  seen   about  his    favourite 


Strand  and  Haymarket,  so  I  sent  him  an  invitation 
to  meet  some  of  the  men  of  a  newer  generation. 
But  he  was  in  Jersey.  Letter-writing  was  not  in 
his  Hne ;  but  here  is  his  reply,  perhaps  the  only 
fragment  of  epistolary  rhetoric  the  old  boy  ever 
indulged  in. 

I  TivoLi  Villas,  St.  Auben's  Road, 
Jersey,  September  1867. 

My  dear  Scott — Your  kind  recollection  was  like  a 
glass  of  our  toddy  of  old  times  in  a  cold  night,  or  a 
sunbeam  on  a  bleak  world  —  a  climax  with  the  apex 
downwards — but  you  will  observe  by  it  that  your  invita- 
tion has  driven  me  into  fine  writing.  I  should  have 
seized  with  avidity  the  opportunity  of  meeting  some  of 
my  old  friends  once  more  before  I  am  made  a  cherub  of, 
but  you  see  it  was  not  to  be  done.  The  wind  is  S.S.E. 
by  north,  and  an  antagonistic  trifle  of  something  like  two 
hundred  miles  lies  between  us.  Nevertheless  the  invita- 
tion was  as  agreeable  as  if  it  had  been  a  chicken  and  a 
bottle  of  champagne.  Being  at  this  distance  I  know  not 
if  ever  I  shall  see  you  again  ;  the  event  must  occur  before 
we  can  be  certain  of  it.  I  am  living  with  Lucy  and  her 
husband,  who  think  me  an  old  fool  not  fit  to.  be  trusted 
alone,  and  perhaps  they  are  right.  But  whether  or  no,  I 
shall  always  remember  \Y.  B.  Scott,  and  with  him  every- 
thing he  can  wish  for  himself  Kenny  Meadows. 

G.  H.  Lewes  I  was  sure  of  finding.  He  and 
Geot'ge  Eliot  were  shortly  leaving  town,  but  he 
invited  me  to  dine  with  them  and  get  acquainted 
with  his  new  wife,  whom  I  found  the  most  bland 
and  amiable  of  plain  women,  and  most  excellent  in 
conversation,  not  finding  it  necessary  to  be  always 
saying  fine  things.  He,  the  plainest  of  men,  was 
much  improved  with  years,  and  yet  as  enthusiastic 


as  ever.  "  I  am  often  in  that  study  of  yours  in 
Edward  Street,"  he  wrote,  "where  we  passed  the 
night  '  talking  of  lovely  things  that  conquer  death,' 
We  both  hope  to  see  you  again."  When  they 
returned  to  town,  I  sent  them  both  an  invitation  to 
dinner,  which  brought  this  reply  : 

The  Priory, 
North  Bank,  Regent's  Park. 

My  dear  Scott — Ever  since  we  came  to  live  in 
London,  Mrs.  Lewes  has  been  forced  to  adopt  the  rigorous 
rule  of  not  going  out,  nor  returning  calls,  except  to  friends 
living  out  of  town.  On  no  other  condition  would  life 
have  been  practicable  (that  is  peaceful  and  workful)  for  us. 
This  has  also  made  me  adopt  the  same  rule,  though  less 
absolutely,  and  as  I  do  sometimes  make  exceptions,  I 
cannot  refuse  an  old  friend  like  you,  so  I  shall  gladly 
come  to  you  on  the  25  th. — Yours,  G.   H.   L. 




When  we  returned  to  London  towards  the  end  of 
1864,  Alice  Boyd,  whom  I  shall  probably  in  future 
designate  by  her  monogram  /B.,  also  desiring  to 
leave  Newcastle,  it  was  arranged  that  she  should 
make  her  winter  home  with  us.  She  was  detained 
in  the  North  by  her  brother's  illness  during  our  first 
winter  in  town,  but  every  winter  since  she  has  been 
with  us,  and  every  year  we  have  spent  the  late 
summer  and  autumn  months  at  Penkill. 

Penkill  Castle,  the  ancient  Ayrshire  homestead 
of  the  younger  branch  of  the  Boyds,  a  family 
sufficiently  historical  in  Scottish  annals,  had  been 
suffered  to  fall  into  decay,  the  acres  having  been  sadly 
diminished,  and  Spencer,  the  heir,  living  in  England. 
When  he  came  of  age,  he  devoted  himself  to  its 
restoration,  re-roofing  the  early  part  and  building  a 
great  new  staircase  instead  of  the  narrow  newel  of 
former  years. 

This  old  buildino^  was  so  interestinQ^  to  me  with 
its  recessed  windows  with  stone  seats  and  grooves 



half-way  down  the  window-jambs,  showing  which 
portion  had  been  glazed  and  which  closed  by  shut- 
ters, that  I  puzzled  out  its  history  very  completely. 
A  large  dormer  window  on  the  earliest  part,  orna- 
mented  with    the   nail-head,  and    a    roll   mouldinsf 

which     terminated 

\   - 

in  a 
knot,  George  Edmund 
Street,  certainly  one  of 
our  best  authorities  for 
the  history  of  our  early 
architecture,  thought  could 
not  be  later  than  1450; 
but  in  outlying  places  I  see 
reason  to  think  an  ornament  was  retained  later  than 
it  continued  to  be  produced  in  more  central  places. 
Whatever  date  might  be  assigned  to  the  first  building, 
it  was  simply  a  square  tower,  a  peel  as  it  has  been 
elsewhere  called,  consisting  of  four  stories,  the  upper- 
most having  two  corner  turrets,  pierced  with  loop- 
holes for  defence.  The  lowest  of  these  apartments, 
that  level  with  the  ground,  was  the  stable,  vaulted  by 
means  of  thin  stones  embedded  edgewise.  Above 
this  vault  was  the  living-room,  not  large  enough  to 
be  called  a  hall,  paved  with  very  thick  red  and 
yellow  tiles.  This  room  had  probably  been  access- 
ible only  by  a  wooden  stair  outside,  an  arch  in  the 
rubble  wall  indicating  where  the  door  had  been. 
Above  this  was  the  apartment  called  in  ballads  the 
"  Ladies'  Bower,"  divided  no  doubt  by  partitions,  as 
here  was  a  gardcrobe  in  the  solid  of  the  wall.  A 
narrow  stair  in  the  end  wall  also  reached  this  room 


from  the  one  below,  and  another  similar  ascended  to 
an  upper  apartment,  which  may  have  had  an  outlet 
to  a  narrow  promenade  surrounding  the  roof.  In 
1628,  on  the  marriage  of  the  then  laird,  the  narrow 
accommodation  of  this  defensible  house,  typical  of 
the  later  middle  ages,  was  found  insufficient,  an 
outside  stone  staircase  being  built,  and  three  large 
rooms  added,  still,  however,  with  thick  walls  and 
small  windows.  Over  the  entrance  to  this  narrow 
newel  staircase  was  inserted  a  tablet  bearinsf  the 
heraldry  of  the  two  families,  with  their  initials  and 
the  date  1628.  Two  rudely-carved  oak  chairs,  with 
exactly  the  same  heraldry,  date,  and  initials,  are  still 
among  the  furnishings  of  the  house,  a  large  one  with 
arms  for  the  laird,  and  a  little  low  one,  a  nursing- 
chair,  for  the  ladv.  From  the  old  times  a  hiQ;h  stone 
wall  had  enclosed  the  house,  with  a  dove-cote  at  one 
corner  and  a  gate  defended  by  a  movable  grill  or 
portcullis,  which  had  latterly  lain  at  the  neighbour- 
ing smithy  for  a  century  till  its  final  decay. 

The  last  addition,  that  made  by  Spencer  Boyd, 
had  been  done  by  renovating  the  whole  building,  and 
making  ante-rooms  and  landings  between  the  great 
new  staircase  and  the  rooms  of  both  former  build- 
ings on  each  floor.  These  changes  indicating  the 
development  of  civilisation  have  a  historical  value  : 
they  bear  an  unmistakable  evidence  of  our  social 
national  advancement,  as  the  geological  periods  do 
of  the  development  of  the  world  at  large. 

The  glen  below  the  house  was  most  interesting 
to  me,  and  revived  my  ancient  landscape  proclivities. 

76  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

Every  summer  for  nearly  ten  years  I  painted  there. 
The  "  friendship  at  first  sight"  was  confirmed.  Time 
could  not  strengthen  it,  but  the  impression  or  instinct 
of  sympathy  was  changed  by  experience  into  satisfied 
conviction  and  confident  repose,  I  speak  of  my  own 
feeling  of  course.  All  my  life  I  had  tried  for  confiding 
affection  both  from  men  and  women  when  I  had  a 
chance  ;  had  made  many  attempts  to  realise  it  with- 
out success.  Not  that  I  gave  up  the  faith  that  two 
men  who  are  not  brothers  by  birth  can  be  more  than 
brothers  by  harmony  of  life.  But  while  the  fates 
had  been  against  me  with  men,  here  at  last  was  a 
perfect  intercourse,  made  possible  by  the  difference 
of  the  sexes.  As  we  sat  painting  together  by  the 
rushing  Penwhapple  stream,  in  the  deep  glen,  which 
D.  G.  R.  afterwards  commemorated,  listening  to  the 
''Sti'eanis  Secret "  before  he  put  it  into  verse — and  I 
too,  by  my  three  series  of  sonnets  called  The  Old 
Scottish  Home,  Outside  the  Temple,  and  those  entitled 
Lost  Love,  when  there  was  a  chance  of  /B.'s  health 
giving  way ;  or  in  town  during  the  long  winter 
evenings  reading  a  hundred  books  or  enjoying 
whatever  a  London  season  cast  in  our  path, — there 
had  never  occurred  a  misunderstood  word  or  wish 
which  might  divide  us.  My  wife  had  faith  in  us 
too,  and  /B.'s  brother  as  well. 

But  he  was  soon  to  part  from  her  and  his  beloved 
old  place.  Their  father  having  died  when  they  were 
infants,  and  their  mother  having  married  again,  they 
had  been  inseparable  till  the  time  when  /B.  came 
to  join  us  in   London.     This  was  in  the  spring  of 


1865.  Her  brother  was  to  spend  the  following 
Christmas  with  us  ;  w^e  amused  ourselves  by  deco- 
rating the  dining-room  with  a  large  banderole 
inscribed  Welcome,  to  receive  him,  and  promised 
ourselves  a  pleasant  time. 

For  a  few  days  we  made  holiday.  Spencer  Boyd 
appeared  quite  well.  His  knowledge  of  architecture 
and  love  of  it  induced  us  to  spend  a  day  inspecting 
the  clearing-out  and  refitting  of  St.  Bartholomew's 
Church  in  Smithfield,  where  we  chanced  to  witness 
an  incident  so  curious  as  to  be  worth  record,  although 
it  breaks  in  upon  my  narrative  and  delays  the  sad 
denouement.  The  workmen  were  lowering  the 
floor,  which  had  become  so  silted  up  that  the  bases 
of  the  piers  were  covered.  To  do  this  they  were 
removing  the  pavement,  which  was  mainly  of  tomb- 
stones, and  as  we  entered  they  were  prising  up  a  very 
heavy  one,  with  an  inscription  still  partially  legible, 
having  been  protected  by  the  floored  seats  placed 
over  the  entire  nave  at  a  later  tinie.  This  was  the 
tombstone  of  the  hairdresser  to  His  Majesty  Charles 
n.,  one  of  the  makers  of  the  mighty  wigs  we  see 
him  painted  in,  but  I  forgot  to  transcribe  his  name  ; 
and  packed  in  below  was  a  large  quantity — several 
wheelbarrows  full — of  white  terra-cotta  pins  about 
half  an  inch  thick  by  three  and  a  half  long,  each  end 
slightly  enlarged.  Neither  the  workmen  nor  their 
superintendent  could  guess  what  these  were  for,  but 
we  carried  away  some  of  them,  and  I  found  they 
were  curling-pins  for  these  great  wigs  of  the  period. 
The  curling-pins  were  heated,  and  every  long  curl 


of  the  wig  was  wrapped  round  one  of  them.  This  is 
the  latest  instance  known,  I  daresay,  of  the  belong- 
ino-s  of  the  deceased  being  buried  with  the  owner. 

The  evening  of  that  day  Spencer  died.  We 
were  sitting  at  tea  ;  my  dog  and  his  were  heard 
barking  ;  he  set  down  his  cup,  saying  he  would  let 
them  out ;  we  heard  him  do  so,  but  he  did  not 
return.  By  and  by  Alice,  always  careful  about  him, 
went  out  to  ascertain  what  caused  his  delay,  and  in 
a  little  while  I  followed  to  hear  her  calling  out  his 
name  at  his  bedroom  door,  which  she  had  found 
locked  on  the  inside.  She  had  a  presentiment  that 
caused  her  to  be  dreadfully  excited,  so  that  I  threw 
myself  with  all  the  force  I  possessed  against  the 
door,  bursting  it  open,  and  we  found  him  already 
dead.  He  had  attempted  to  get  into  bed,  but  had 
been  unable  to  do  so.  The  first  doctor  who  arrived 
undid  his  clothes,  and  I  saw  again  the  dark  blue 
suffusion  round  the  region  of  the  heart  I  had  seen 
on  my  brother  Robert.  He  had  died  from  the  same 
disease  of  the  heart. 

I  forbear  to  describe  the  grief  on  that  endless 
nio-ht  of  the  dearest  of  friends.  We  buried  him  in 
the  wildest  storm  of  snow  I  ever  remember,  in  the 
family  enclosure  in  the  ancient  ruin  of  Old  Dailly 
Church.  He  was  the  last  of  the  direct  line  of  the 
Boyds  of  Penkill  and  Trochrague,  who  figure  in 
Scottish  biographical  dictionaries  under  various 
headings  :  Mark  Alexander,  a  soldier  of  fortune  and 
writer  of  Latin  and  Greek  poems,  some  printed  at 
Antwerp  1592,  others  remaining  in  manuscript  in  the 

VI         PROPHECY  ABOUT   THE  PENKILL  BOYDS         79 

Advocates'  Library  in  Edinburgh  ;  Robert,  Principal 
of  Glasgow  University,  and  his  father  ;  and  that  very 
interesting  and  eccentric  person  Zachary,  who  wrote 
no  end  of  curious  poetry,  very  like  Ouarles  in  some 
points,  but  unique  in  the  familiarity  with  which  he 
treats  his  sacred  heroes. 

The  summer  after  this  sudden  change  to  /B., 
as  we  were  driving  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  little 
seaside  town,  Girvan,  passing  a  place  where  had 
traditionally  existed  a  tower,  possibly  the  oldest 
house  of  the  Boyds  in  these  parts,  we  found  a  villa 
in  course  of  building  on  the  very  spot.  Robert 
M'Lean,  the  old  coachman  of  the  family,  drew  up 
and  looking  about  him,  pointed  to  the  shattered 
stump  of  an  ash-tree,  and  drew  his  mistress's  atten- 
tion to  it.  "That's  it,"  was  his  emphatic  announce- 
ment. I  found  on  inquiry  that  this  remainder  of  a 
tree  was  an  after-growth  from  the  stool  of  the  last  of 
a  pair  of  great  ashes  once  associated  with  the  tower, 
long  dear  to  the  inhabitants  of  the  little  town,  and 
that  there  was  a  rhyme  current  among  them  to  this 
effect — 

When  the  last  leaf  draps  frae  the  auld  aish  tree. 
The  Penkill  Boyds  maun  cease  to  be. 

To  defeat  this  prophecy,  apparently  approaching 
realisation,  a  piece  of  the  old  wood,  bearing  a  young 
shoot  still  green  and  fresh,  was  cut  off  and  carefully 
planted.  "  The  popular  prophecy  is  of  course  correct 
about  us,"  said  ^13.,  "but  let  us  try  if  we  can  break 
the  connection  with  the  ash-trees  "  ;  so  it  was  nursed 
carefully,  perhaps  too  carefully,  as  an  ash-tree  is  not 

8o  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

quite  at  home  in  a  heated  greenhouse  ;  next  summer 
it  was  still  alive  but  its  leaves  were  few,  the  second 
season  it  was  gone. 

Towards  the  end  of  the  year,  back  in  town  again, 
I  was  preparing  my  winter's  work  in  my  studio, 
when  the  long  banderole  with  the  word  "  Welcome," 
turned  up,  a  melancholy  memento  of  Spencer  Boyd's 
visit,  and  just  then  W.  M.  R.  appeared,  stepping 
out  of  a  cab  at  the  door.  It  was  a  holiday  at  the 
Inland  Revenue  office,  he  explained,  and  he  had 
come  to  get  me  as  a  companion  to  visit  Mrs.  Marshall, 
the  quondam  washerwoman,  now  expert  in  calling 
up  the  bogies  and  making  tables  rap.  I  had  tried 
various  experiments  in  this  matter  of  communicating 
with  the  dead,  but  without  the  smallest  shade  of  suc- 
cess, but  I  would  try  again,  and  off  we  went,  although 
I  did  not  expect  much,  he  having  been  present  at 
his  brother's  on  the  evening  I  have  mentioned. 

The  supposition  of  such  communication  is  so 
irrational,  environed  on  all  sides  with  irrationalities, 
that  I  confess  I  only  did  try  the  experiment  as  an 
amusement,  but  William  Rossetti  had  written  down 
question  and  answer  with  all  the  circumstances  of 
the  interviews  he  had  had  with  experts  for  years, 
and  I  was  inclined  to  regard  his  judgment  with 
respect  on  literary  matters  at  least.  Besides,  the 
irrationalities  in  this  species  of  spiritualism  resemble 
those  of  some  forms  of  religion  that  are  sufficiently 
respectable.  Invocation  of  saints  is  exactly  the 
same  ;  saints  are  the  bogies  of  good  people  long 
deceased,  and  they  must  be  ubiquitous  to  answer 

SPIRIT  -  RA  PPING  8  x 

every  one's  prayers,  the  same  as  those  the  spiritualists 
try  to  bring  about  us.  Well,  as  we  drove  along  in 
a  rattling  cab,  thinking  of  the  banderole  I  said  to 
William  I  would  ask  for  Spencer  Boyd.  There 
were  two  devotees  besides  ourselves  with  Mrs. 
Marshall  and  her  son  and  daugfhter-in-law.  The  two 
men  might  have  been  confederates,  but  even  then  I 
think  it  was  impossible  that  my  writing  could  have 
been  overseen.  The  room  was  upstairs,  the  largest 
room  in  the  house  of  the  moderately  respectable 
domicile  ;  and  the  two  women,  old  and  young,  were 
as  uncultivated  and  mentally  unfurnished  as  the  evil 
genius  of  D.  G.  R.  already  mentioned.  We  sat 
down  at  the  table  with  the  frowsy  old  mother, 
her  smart  daughter-in-law,  and  the  two  strangers. 
I  wrote  the  name  of  my  deceased  friend  on  the 
interior  of  a  half- unfolded  letter,  and  then,  as 
desired,  I  went  along  an  alphabet,  touching  each 
letter,  and  the  knocks  came  correctly,  spelling  Boyd. 
I  began  again  and  the  knocks  came  correctly  spelling 
Spencer,  a  rare  name.  I  then  asked  if  the  sjDirit 
would  tell  me  how  long  ago  he  died.  "Ask  it  by 
months,"  said  the  girl,  "  saying  one,  two,  and  so  on." 
The  result  was  the  knocks  came  at  eight  instead  of 
ten  months,  not  a  great  fallacy  for  a  spirit  who  is 
reasonably  supposed  to  keep  no  diary  or  pocket 
calendar.  Where  did  he  die  }  was  my  next  ques- 
tion. "At  Eldon,"  and  with  a  little  hesitation, 
''Road.''  Elgin  Road  was  my  address,  still  this  was 
nearly  right,  especially  as  there  was  a  Lord  Eldon 
as  well  as  a  Lord  Elgin.      But  this  very  mistake, 

VOL.  II  G 


appearing  to  have  a  reason  in  it,  as  well  as  the  young 
woman  proposing  I  should  ask  by  months  for  the 
period  in  my  former  question,  indicated  to  a  suspicious 
observer  some  previous  knowledge.  No  other  ques- 
tion was  answered  approximately  right. 

I  went  again  to  Mrs.  Marshall  with  Mrs.  Lynn 
Linton  without  good  result ;  but  this  first  interview, 
instead  of  giving  me  any  addition  to  my  faith  in 
the  table-rapping  of  spirits,  had  the  opposite  effect. 
I  saw  in  the  approximation  to  truth  the  clever 
guessing  of  the  practised  thought -reader  by  the 
expression  of  the  countenance.  Every  card-sharper 
has  this  faculty,  showing  him  how  far  he  may  go  ; 
and  every  successful  schemer  and  man  of  law  or 
business,  with  or  without  his  consciousness  of  any 
impropriety,  works  by  the  same  means.  It  was 
at  best  guessing  nearly  right  while  the  first  clue 
guided,  and  then  farther  and  farther  wrong.  Read- 
ing the  expression  is  the  art,  and  I  believe  w^omen 
who  are  not  usually  troubled  by  logic  and  habits 
of  ratiocination  are  quicker  than  men  in  it.  Miss 
Boyd  and  I  have  a  game  at  bezique  every  evening, 
and  I  have  found  her  a  hundred  times  tell  me  what 
card  I  had  drawn,  simply  by  looking  at  me.  "You 
have  got  a  good  card  this  time,  I  see !  I  believe  it 
is  the  king — yes,  the  king,  not  the  ace !  "  and  so 
it  has  been. 

The  death  of  Spencer  left  his  sister  well  dis- 
posed to  carry  out  his  pious  work  of  re-edifying 
the  old  house,  and  she  did  so  by  proposing  that  I 
should  paint  with   some  pictorial  history  the  great 

na  Tjyiriiiiir  Eoikes 

jZe^z^^^  ^^2i4^^  <^^^<f^v 


circular  staircase  which  her  brother  had  built.  I 
selected  as  my  subject  a  series  of  scenes  from 
the  lovely  story  of  The  Kings  Quair,  the  poem 
written  by  King  James  the  First  of  Scotland  at 
the  end  of  his  imprisonment  at  Windsor.  This 
work,  executed  on  the  wall  with  oil  pigments,  the 
medium  being  wax  dissolved  in  turpentine,  en- 
caustic in  short,  occupied  me  three  or  four  months 
in  each  year,  beginning  in  1S65  and  ending  1868. 
The  wall  was  three  feet  thick,  and  therefore  taking 
very  long  to  be  free  either  of  damp  or  of  the 
corrosive  quality  of  the  lime,  I  had  begun  upon 
it  rather  too  soon,  occasioning  some  repainting, 
but  I  found  this  species  of  encaustic  was  almost 
perfect ;  most  probably  the  pictures  will  now  re- 
main without  further  change. 

Before  determining:  on  this  method  of  wall- 
painting,  the  water-glass  being  then  in  successful 
use  by  Kaulbach  in  Germany,  and  as  it  appeared 
admirable  in  the  hands  of  Maclise,  in  his  great 
picture,  finished  two  years  before,  "The  Meeting 
of  Wellington  and  Blucher,"  perhaps  the  noblest 
of  all  war-pictures  ever  done,  though  scarcely  at 
all  known  to  Englishmen,  I  consulted  him.  He 
was  unknown  to  me.  I  availed  myself  of  the 
introduction  of  j\Ir.  F.  G.  Stephens,  one  of  the 
original  P.R.  B.  set  of  men,  who  had  gradu- 
ally dropped  into  his  true  field,  that  of  daily  and 
weekly  critic  of  the  art  season.  Slowness  of 
imagination  and  want  of  artistic  excitability  pre- 
vent  the   mass  of  people  and   generality  of  critics 

84  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

from  even  accepting  so  mighty  and  dramatic  a 
work  as  this  in  the  Houses  of  ParHament,  the 
meetinof  on  the  field  of  Waterloo  of  the  two 
triumphant  generals,  simply  because  the  painter 
has  brought  the  elements  of  the  historic  scene 
into  tragic  proximity — closer  together,  in  short, 
than  they  were  on  the  wide  area  of  the  field  of 
battle.  Stephens  was  too  cultiv-ated  to  make  any 
such  prosaic  detraction  from  the  value  of  the  picture 
in  his  writing  about  it  in  the  Athencciuu,  and 
Maclise  received  his  introductory  note  in  a  kindly 
spirit.  I  found  him  to  be  a  large,  phlegmatic,  sad- 
voiced  man,  to  whom  success  in  life  seemed  to 
have  brought  no  pleasure,  nor  had  the  possession 
of  artistic  genius  adorned  him  with  any  social 
nimbus.  He  was  then  drawing  to  a  close  with 
"The  Death  of  Nelson,"  on  the  opposite  wall, 
and  in  it  he  had  taken  care  to  avoid  the  fault 
mentioned,  fault  in  the  eyes  of  the  uninitiated, 
but  no  fault  at  all  in  an  epic  invention.  He 
told  me  he  had  taken  correct  measurements  of 
the  deck  of  the  Victory  or  of  some  other  ship 
of  equal  dimensions,  from  gun  to  gun,  had  so 
planned  every  point  included  in  the  picture  from 
careful  observation  and  sketches,  and  had  seen 
the  corps  of  men  (seven  in  number  if  I  remember 
rightly)  serve  each  gun  as  in  action.  No  other 
mode  of  operation  could  have  given  so  vivid  an 
idea  of  the  frightful  daring  of  the  old  sea  battles, 
when  the  ^reat  wooden  hulls  with  a  thousand 
men    serving    a    hundred   guns  ran  close   together. 

VI  MAC  USE  85 

yard-arm    to    yard-arm,    and    blew    each    other   to 

When  I  explained  my  object  in  seeing  him, 
he  gave  me  a  slow  sad  look,  and  said  his  first 
advice  was  not  to  undertake  such  work  at  all. 
"But,"  he  added  after  a  moment,  "if  you  do  and 
adopt  ivater-glass  as  your  plan,  you  can  have  all 
my  traps,  which  I  am  glad  to  be  done  with.  I  will 
make  you  a  present  of  the  whole  remainder  of 
materials.  I  hope  to  return  to  my  studio  and  to 
the  easel  pictures  which  I  wish  I  had  never  left !  " 
Saying  this  he  pointed  to  his  whole  array  of  pots 
of  colour,  palettes,  and  vessels,  including  the  tin 
kettle  sort  of  machine  for  steaming  the  work  when 
done.  His  offer  took  me  by  surprise,  especially 
as  there  was  no  opinion  expressed  as  to  the  merits 
of  this  and  other  methods,  or  their  comparative 
difficulties.  I  could  not,  of  course,  take  advantage, 
or  indeed  reckon  on  such  an  offer,  even  if  I  had 
determined  on  the  water-glass  medium.  .  This  I 
expressed,  adding  my  wonder  at  his  state  of 
regret,  instead  of  triumph  on  the  completion  of 
such  great  works.  "Well,  yes,  I  daresay  you 
are  right.  I  know  what  they  are,  of  course, 
but  the  people  I  have  to  please  are  such  indif- 
ferent brutes  and  such  ninnies.  Nobody  cares 
for  the  pictures  after  they  are  done,  or  wants  them 
as  far  as  I  can  see.  Literally  so,  no  one  comes 
to  see  this  now  it  is  about  done.  I  have  asked 
the  Ministers  and  others,  and  I  see  them  passing 
in    droves    to    inspect    Herbert's    '  Moses '    there," 

86  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

pointing  over  his  shoulder  to  the  room  where  Her- 
bert's picture  was.  "  That  convert  to  Romanism,  the 
barrister,  brings  them  in  droves  and  Herbert  is 
working  the  oracle,  which  I  can't  do,  and  shouldn't 
put  myself  into  the  necessity  of  doing,  do  you 
see.  They  look  on  him  as  a  Michael  Angelo 
— they  even  knock  at  the  door  of  this  my  wooden 
chamber  and  inquire  where  the  great  picture  is  to 
be  seen ! "  The  outspoken  candour  of  our  one 
supreme  English  history-painter  was  almost  painful  ; 
I  could  only  assent  to  his  disgust  at  oracle-working. 
"Well,"  he  went  on,  "you  think  I  need  not  care? 
Perhaps  not,  but  as  I  am  not  going  to  do  any  more 
of  this,  but  am  about  to  return  to  what  I  like  best 
in  my  studio  at  home,  I  have  no  more  use  for  all 
these  things." 

This  interview,  showing  me  as  in  a  glass,  but 
not  darkly,  the  true  feelings  of  a  true  man,  was 
not  of  much  use  to  me  in  the  matter  in  hand,  but 
of  infinite  interest.  A  similar  feeling,  modified  by 
the  individual  character  of  the  speaker,  I  have 
encountered  repeatedly  in  the  best  painters  I  have 
known.  My  brother  for  one  completed  his  best 
works  in  a  state  of  despair.  When  I  went  into 
D.  G.  R.'s  studio  to  see  his  large  "  Dante's  Dream," 
I  found  him  in  a  similar  state,  hidden  under  a  kind 
of  ferocity ;  and  I  remember  Holman  Hunt,  the 
success  of  whose  "Christ  in  the  Temple"  was  too 
great  to  allow  of  discontent,  saying  with  a  haggard 
expression  of  face,  "It  is  well  for  once,  but  I'll  be 
now  found  out.     I  can  never  do  anything  more !  " 


The  cause  of  this,  which  has  descended  to  us  from 
the  time  of  Michael  Angelo  himself,  but  is  more 
peculiarly  an  insular  disease  nowadays,  results 
mainly  from  the  unpopularity  of  exceptional  genius. 
The  man  as  well  as  his  work  is  shied  by  his  pro- 
fessional associates  as  well  as  the  public :  he  is 
not  "one  of  us."  There  are  exceptions  where 
popular  qualities  are  mixed  with  the  unique  merits 
that  render  a  work  peculiar  and  original,  so  en- 
suring the  praise  of  the  public  and  of  the  critics 
who  cannot  see,  or  will  not  risk  recognition  of  the 
greater  qualities.  Popular  qualities  make  work 
easy,  and  mitigate  the  mental  strain.  Among 
poets  I  have  never  seen  any  similar  frame  of 
mind  follow  publication,  even  when  no  recogni- 
tion at  all  has  followed.  In  this  respect  the  fate 
of  the  painter  is  harder. 


LETTERS    FROM    HOLMAN    HUNT,    JERUSALEM,     1870-71 

Before  returning  to  my  own  home  circle  I  may  give 
here  some  letters  from  Holman  Hunt,  then  living  in 
Jerusalem,  struggling  indefatigably,  as  he  always  did, 
with  a  new  subject,  this  one  being  the  "  Shadow  of 
Death."  The  tone  of  Hunt's  mind  and  letters  is 
in  curious  contrast  to  our  idle  experiments  about 
spirit-rapping  and  such  like  stuff,  but  perhaps  not 
so  amusing.  He  has  allowed  me  to  give  these  letters 

Jerusalem,  'jth  April  1870. 

My  dear  Scott  —  I  have  a  long  time  to  stay  here 
still,  and  I  don't  feel  disposed  to  wait  patiently  until 
my  return  to  England  for  the  next  communication  with 
you.  I  send  this  scrap,  then,  as  a  threatener  of  future 
letters,  and  as  a  petitioner  for  some  news  and  thoughts 
of  yours. 

You  should  see  how  grand  I  am  in  my  desolate  house 
here  ;  it  is  about  large  enough  for  a  family  of  ten  or  twelve, 
and  I  walk  in  dismal  dignity  about  the  unfriended  rooms. 
Two  servants  attend  upon  me,  and  sometimes  a  country 
man  or  woman  is  staying  here  as  a  possible  model.  I 
assure  you  at  first  starting,  even  with  my  old  experience, 
it  required  no  ordinary  perseverance  and  energy  to  get  to 


work.  The  house  was  the  first  difficulty,  and  then  the 
model-finding.  The  difficulties  were  all  the  greater  to 
me  because  I  had  altogether  forgotten  my  Arabic  at  first. 
Little  by  little  now  I  am  getting  about  as  forward  as 
I  was  when  I  left  nearly  fifteen  years  ago,  and  as  I  pay 
well,  the  procuring  people  to  sit  does  not  promise  to 
be  such  a  bother  as  formerly.  One  great  trouble,  indeed, 
is  to  know  what  to  think  of  my  own  work.  If  I  could 
show  it  to  some  one  like  yourself  I  might  save  much 
painful  uncertainty. 

You  are  one  of  the  few  men  I  know  who  would  truly 
appreciate  this  country.  When  I  say  this,  I  remember 
very  well  some  of  your  views  about  religious  matters 
associated  with  Palestine,  but  you  would  be  delighted  with 
the  number  of  realisations  of  ancient  days  and  ways  one 
feels  as  one  goes  about.  We  pass  not  merely  from  village 
to  town,  and  from  town  to  desert,  or  to  an  Arab  encamp- 
ment, lying  down  for  the  night's  rest  under  the  unscreened 
stars  ;  but  we  pass  from  century  to  century,  from  Abraham 
to  Cambyses,  from  Herodotus  to  Jesus  Christ,  then  to 
Mohammed  and  so  to  the  Crusaders.  There  are,  too,  such 
undreamed-of  scenes  as  though  they  did  not  belong  to 
this  world,  but  rather  to  the  moon.  You  know  how 
above  all  my  life-affections  is  my  love  of  Christ,  yet  of 
late  I  had  felt  it  to  be  time  that  I  should  take  stock  of 
thoughts  which  should  never  crystallise.  Since  leaving 
England  I  have  been  reading  Ecce  Homo,  Renan's  Life 
of  Christ,  etc.,  *  *  *  * 

*  *  *  also    I    have    further 

re-read  very  attentively  the  whole  Testament,  marking 
down  all  its  questionable  points  and  comparing  passages 
with  determination  towards  unbiassed  judgment,  and  the 
result  is  that  I  believe  more  defiantly  than  ever.  You 
will  think  I  am  not  consistent  when  I  say  further 
that  I  think  the  evangelists  made  many  mistakes,  that 
they  did  not  themselves  understand  what  had  been  said 
to  them.  But  nevertheless,  as  the  books  stand,  being 
written    in   absolute   good   faith,   correctly  reporting   what 


passed,  this  seems  to  furnish  convincing  arguments  for 
the  truth  of  their  subject.  As  to  Renan,  with  all  the 
valuable  and  splendid  observations  in  his  book,  I  saw 
symptoms  of  bad  faith  in  his  search  for  truth,  and  I 
find  his  acumen  very  shallow,  and  his  sentiment  most 
tawdry,  and  this  assisted  in  making  me  feel  that  Chris- 
tianity, even  in  its  highest  pretensions,  must  be  true. 
You  will  know  I  am  not  saying  this  in  ignorance  of 
critical  and  scientific  theories.  I  wish  I  had  you  here  to 
explain  more  thoroughly  my  way  of  accepting  evidences. 
I  should  not  hope  to  convert  you,  but  think  I  should  be 
able  to  show  you  ways  of  interpreting  not  at  all  generally 
propounded,  and  make  you  more  prepared  to  see  Chris- 
tianity sending  out  fresh  branches  than  you  are  now. 

I  ought  to  explain  what  I  mean  by  "  highest  preten- 
sions." I  do  not  use  the  phrase  in  relation  to  the 
authority  of  the  Church,  I  mean  the  direct  supernatural 
origin  and  nature  of  Christ,  that  He  really  came  down 
from  heaven,  from  the  dwelling-place  of  divinity,  that  He 
performed  miracles,  that  He  rose  from  the  dead,  and 
returned  again  into  heaven, — there  1  I  have  almost  written 
out  the  creed.  My  belief  is  that  as  man  was  a  new 
development  in  animal  life  so  was  Christ  to  us.  You 
may  contend  that  this  was  by  gradual  evolution.  My 
reply  would  be  that  nothing  comes  of  nothing,  and  that 
a  new  perfection  must  be  made  by  the  Master  Artist. 

I  am  glad  that  you  have  been  publishing  the  Life  of 
Diircr,  not  that  I  know  the  book  yet,  but  I  rejoice,  now 
that  so  many  who  know  nothing  about  Art  issue  volumes 
in  tens  and  hundreds  about  it,  that  an  artist  should  once 
on  a  time  say  something  derived  from  practical  observation 
and  experience.  Professed  critics — and  I  say  it  with  all 
deference  to  our  old  friends  who  follow  that  line  of  busi- 
ness— are  becoming  a  great  impediment  to  true  healthy 
art.  They  fabricate  theories  by  brain  machinery,  every 
one  has  his  law.  To  hear  A.  when  at  Rome  pro- 
pounding his  dogmas  was  too  edifying  1  I  did  not  argue 
with  him,  because  for  the  short  time  we  were  together  we 


had  much  more  entertaining  talk.  It  is  the  same  with 
B.,  somewhat  the  same  with  C,  and  also  with  D.,  who 
is  of  course  a  critic  too.  They  talk  as  though  they 
regarded  artists  as  waiting  for  their  orders.  We,  too, 
at  times  have  our  crotchets  at  nights,  but  the  easel  work 
of  the  following  day  modifies  them  :  we  determine,  to 
wit,  that  on  no  occasion  should  the  teeth  be  shown 
in  a  face,  etc.  etc.,  but  some  exceptional  case  is  soon  found 
when  the  ingenious  idea  will  not  do,  another  and  another 
case  for  which  it  is  not  suitable  arise,  and  then  we  give  it 
up,  perhaps  even  forget  it,  while  as  theorists  we  should 
have  sworn  by  it  to  the  end  of  our  days.  Art  is  now,  it 
seems  to  me,  becoming  less  hopeful  in  England,  because 
two  or  three  sets  of  influential  artists  are  adopting  "  laws." 
To  me  their  art  is  losing  the  vitalit}-  which  gives  worth 
of  a  lasting  kind.  Sculptors  are  most  driven  to  become 
traditional,  because  there  are  so  few  subjects  which  they 
can  take  from  passing  life  either  for  form  or  idea.  Albert 
Durer,  to  return  to  our  particular  subject,  seems  to  me  a 
greater  man  as  a  designer  for  engraving  than  in  painting. 
All  that  I  saw  of  him  in  Italy  disappointed  me.  I  had 
imagined  much  more  perfect  drawing  and  painting  too 
than  I  found, 

I  am  now  reading  an  Italian  translation  of  Marc' 
Aiirelio  Antonino.      He  strikes  me  as  having  been  a  sort  of 

classical  .      His  head  never  appeared  to  me  that 

of  a  strong  man,  but  until  now  I  had  never  read  enough 
of  him  to  trust  that  impression.  When  I  was  a  boy,  a 
friend  of  mine  who  worshipped  him  used  to  talk  much  of 
him,  and  quote  much  ;  at  that  time  his  philosophy  seemed 
to  me  more  wonderful  and  comprehensive  than  it  does 

Have  you  lately  given  any  attention  to  spiritualism  ? 
A  painter  who  came  here  for  a  short  time,  who  did  not 
appear  a  fool  though  he  was  not  a  very  wonderful  artist, 
openly  professed  himself  a  thorough  believer  in  it,  and 
the  evidence  he  advanced  would  have  been  convincing 
had  he  not  been  deceived.     This  I  felt  he  must  ha\'e  been. 


when  it  came  to  light  that  a  man  he  had  trusted  here,  and 
who  had  acted  as  his  interpreter,  had  robbed  him  in  the 
most  ridiculous  manner  from  his  very  pocket,  time  after 
time.  His  great  agent  was  Mrs.  Marshall,  and  he  declared 
that  all  the  artists,  naming  several  academicians,  were 
taking  it  up.  Here  there  seems  to  be  something  of  the 
kind  among  the  Moslems,  but  it  is  only  practised  in  great 
secret.  The  reports  of  the  proceedings  are  wonderfully 
like  those  of  the  spiritualists  at  home,  although  having  7io 
tables  they  are  less  ridiculous,  and  the  manifestations  are 
more  material  ;  they  begin,  however,  by  imploring  the  aid 
of  Shaitan,  or  I  would  try  to  get  them  to  operate  here.  I 
have  no  reason  to  believe  in  it,  but  I  should  have  liked  to 
examine  it  impartially.  Mrs.  Guppy  came  to  Florence 
while  I  was  there  and  startled  some  people,  but  on  inquiry 
I  found  that  the  more  sensible  members  of  her  seances 
had  been  convinced  that  she  had  recourse  to  imposture. 
Old  Kirkup  was  still  a  believer  ;  I  should  think  by  this 
time  he  must  be  a  spirit  himself 

How  can  you  get  on  in  London  without  Arabic? 
Tyib,  mafish,  inshallah,  wakri,  etc.  etc.,  are  surely  words 
that  no  fellow  can  do  without !  Confess  now,  don't  you 
often  find  yourself  in  difficulty  for  want  of  them  ?  I  select 
those  because  they  have  no  gutturals.  Have  you  heard 
of  the  drought  we  have  had  here  ?  at  last  some  supplies 
have  reached  us,  not  much,  but  enough  to  make  painting 
in  water-colour  a  possibility. — Yours  ever, 

W.  HoL^iAN  Hunt. 

This  "  scrap,"  as  he  calls  the  document,  interested 
me  much.  The  persistent  dependence  on  the  prin- 
ciples that  recommend  themselves  to  the  common 
sense  of  the  generality  is  notable,  and  the  criterion 
by  which  he  sets  aside  the  trustworthiness  of 
the  advocate  of  JNIrs.  Marshall's  miraculous  powers 
is   very   characteristic.      One   of   the   most  valuable 


features  of  Holman's  intellect  is  his  acute  practicality 
in  the  ordinary  affairs  of  life.  Thus  the  man  who 
let  himself  be  robbed  systematically  was  not  to  him 
a  credible  witness  :  and  he  was  perfectly  correct.  I 
wrote  to  him  both  about  his  views  of  the  historical 
part  of  the  New  Testament  and  about  other  things. 
Happily  it  is  not  possible  to  enter  viy  letter  here, 
but  this  is  his  reply,  dated  Jerusalem,  loth  August 

My  dear  Scott — I  will  take  up  the  questions  in 
your  letter  of  the  26th  May  in  the  order  in  which  they  are 
presented.  You  are  surprised,  first,  by  my  declaration 
that  recent  examination  here  in  Syria  of  the  history 
recorded  in  the  Gospels  has  removed  difficulties  I  was 
ready  to  admit.  If  I  said  that  increased  confidence  had 
resulted  from  the  opportunity  of  seeing  the  actual  spots 
where  the  writers  place  the  events,  I  was  saying  more 
than  I  intended.  My  objections  were  silenced  rather  by 
closer  and  more  free-thinking  examination  of  the  records. 
Artistically  I  admire  the  country  very  much  as  suitable 
for  such  history,  although  I  see  it  would  not  satisfy  your 
requirements  any  more  than  it  does  those  of  the  clergymen 
who  come  here,  who  confess,  perhaps  reluctantly,  their 
disappointment  with  nearly  one  voice.  This  feeling  of 
theirs  forces  me  to  recognise  that  they  cannot  bear  the 
actual  realisation  of  the  subject.  Their  ideas  are  still 
mythical  and  vague,  and  thus  it  is  difficult  to  regard  them 
as  happy  and  confident  in  their  belief,  since  they  cannot, 
like  you,  regard  the  history  simply  as  a  poetic  dressing  of 
half-forgotten  facts.  You  start  with  the  proposition  that 
the  history  is  supernatural,  this  in  its  most  scientific 
sense  ;  my  mind  commences  with  the  inquiry  as  to  what 
is  within  and  what  without  the  pale  of  natural  law. 

You  don't  answer  a  question  I  put  in  my  letter, 
whether  you  have  had  any  recent  experience  in  spiritualism? 
I  have  Jicver  had  any,  but  I  may  take  you  as  a  witness  to 

94  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

the  fact  that  certain  mysterious  powers  acting  on  others 
do  exist  in  individuals,  which  science  wholly  rejected  when 
they  were  first  brought  before  the  public.  It  will  serve 
here  to  revert  to  the  story  of  your  visit  to  Mrs.  Marshall, 
when  she  told  you  that  within  a  twelvemonth  a  friend  had 
died  suddenly  in  your  house,  speaking  with  sufficient  exact- 
ness to  make  you  think  she  had  had  information  of  the 
death  of  Mr.  Boyd.  It  may  be  said  this  information  had 
been  obtained  by  material  agency,  although  the  difficulties 
in  the  way  of  this  solution  were  considered  by  you  too  great. 
Mesmerism  in  other  forms  remains  beyond  question,  forms 
which  were  regarded  as  impossible  when  first  announced  ; 
what  is  or  is  not  supernatural  is  not,  you  see,  infallibly 
determined.  My  notions  of  this  world  and  our  life  in  it 
come  from  what  I  feel  and  see  myself  and  hear  from 
others.  If  no  scientific  explanation  of  what  has  occurred 
to  myself  can  be  given,  I  will  not  accept  it  for  other  and 
greater  questions  in  history.  Your  difficulty  in  believing 
in  the  Godhead  of  Christ  comes,  as  it  seems  to  me,  from 
your  terribly  distant  idea  of  God.  [He  refers  here  to 
my  holding  by  the  "  SJiorter  Catechism  of  the  Divines  at 
WestJninster"  definition  of  God:  ''God  is  a  Spirit,  in- 
finite, eternal,  and  nnchangeable,  in  his  power,  wisdom, 
holiness,  Justice,  goodness,  and  trutJir\  I  come  with  no 
preconceived  ideas  of  any  kind  to  the  subject  ;  I  am 
ready  to  accept  the  most  practical  of  the  many  pre- 
sented to  me,  that  which  tallies  best  with  the  view  of 
His  purpose  of  increase  in  the  goodness,  justice,  and 
love,  which  the  world,  as  made  by  Him,  exhibits.  I 
have  no  fear  of  offending  by  not  doing  justice  to  His 
dignity,  because  I  find  that  men  who  think  of  their 
dignity  are  poor  creatures.  And  the  discovery  that  man 
has  invented  an  infinity  of  fables  to  incorporate  his 
notions  of  deity,  need  only  be  kept  in  mind  as  a  reason 
for  scrutiny.  ...  I  see  no  difficulty  in  admitting  the 
possibility  of  "  supernatural "  acts  in  connection  with 
paganism.  I  believe  entirely  in  the  Daemon  of  Socrates, 
and    I  credit,  without  hesitation,  the  possibility  of  a  "  re- 



velation,"  in  a  dimmer  way,  to  the  Greeks,  Egyptians,  and 
Persians  ;  but  it  was  a  lower  grade  than  that  of  the  Jews 
and  Christians. 

Perhaps,  however,  the  strongest  conviction  I  have  on 
these  subjects  comes  from  the  consideration  of  the  effect 
of  the  two  views  (reh'gion  or  no  reh'gion)  on  h'fe.  What 
is  the  reason  of  the  dead-ahve  poetry  and  art  of  the  day, 
if  not  in  the  totally  material  nature  of  the  views  cultivated 
in  modern  schools  ?  Trying  to  limit  speculation  within 
the  bounds  of  sense  only  must  produce  poor  sculpture, 
feeble  painting,  dilettante  poetry.  What  else  could  be 
produced  when  the  mind  revels  only  in  the  body's  hopes  ? 
To  measure  and  imitate  the  works  of  soul-inspired  workers 
of  previous  ages  is  not  producing  the  bread  of  life.  It  is 
foolish  as  it  were  to  give  a  babe  a  lay  figure  for  a  wet 
nurse.  I  again  wish  you  were  here,  not  because  I  think 
the  country  would  satisfy  your  poetic  dreams,  but  because 
you  would  for  the  time  be  able  to  consider  the  question 
free  from  the  influence  of  European  artificial  life. 

With  all  the  weakness  of  the  men  who  conduct  the 
business  of  religion,  the  noblest  efforts  of  society  are  made 
by  them.  Who  try  to  civilise  the  savage,  to  reclaim  the 
convict  ?  Who  pick  up  the  ragged  boys  from  the  gutter  ? 
who  snatch  the  children  from  premature  labour  in  pit  or 
factory  ?  who  try  to  work  out  a  plan  of  life  without  war  ? 
who  try  to  raise  women  from  infamy  ?  "  By  their  fruits 
ye  shall  know  them  "  is  an  axiom  simple  and  divine  in 
wisdom.  What,  on  the  other  hand,  do  your  philosophers 
do  ?  Surely  nothing  of  an  unselfish  kind  in  comparison, 
although  I  thoroughly  believe  that  much  is  left  for  them 
as  counterpoise  to  the  narrowness  and  rancour  of  bigots. 
In  going  over  the  Bible  and  Testament  you  wall  find  lots 
of  difficulties  and  objections  if  you  are  like  me.  I  find 
man  to  be  slow  of  conviction  and  still  slower  in  change  of 
habit,  and  the  prophets  have  spoken  oft  and  men  have 
professed  to  be  converted,  and  their  actions  have  pro\ed 
this  to  be  delusion.  I  am  sure  that  you  would  find 
wisdom   by  careful   study  which  had  not  appeared  before. 

96  WILLIAM  BELL  SCOTT  chap. 

Everything  shows  me  that  this  hfe  itself  is  a  trial  and  a 
question.  I  lately  made  out  the  parable  of  the  unjust 
steward  ;  what  had  seemed  actually  objectionable  before, 
I  saw  in  an  instructive  and  interesting  sense.  But  I  must 
not  go  on  to  all  eternity — though  this  convulsion  of  war 
may  reach  here  any  hour,  and  time  close  upon  us  before 
the  closing  of  this  sheet  !  Yet  I  must  add  a  few  words, 
for  I  had  altogether  neglected  one  of  }-our  arguments,  viz. 
that  of  the  physical  absurdity  of  His  body  having  been 
received  up  into  the  clouds  (which  are  nothing,  while 
astronomical  distances  are  vacuums  thousands  of  years 
away),  and  you  find  this  part  of  the  story  to  be  explained 
by  the  cosmogony  of  the  time  that  heaven  was  in  the 
circumjacent  sky.  Now  our  artistic  experience  may  give 
some  illustration  of  the  way  in  which  God  might  work. 
In  finding  a  desirable  idea  to  illustrate  we  have  a  sense 
of  its  beauty  not  limited  in  any  way.  When  we  have 
to  express  this  to  others  all  manner  of  restrictions  present 
themselves,  from  the  nature  of  the  language  and  the 
materials  of  our  art,  and  from  consideration  of  the  intel- 
ligences we  address.  The  object  of  the  artist,  as  of  the 
Creator,  is  to  put  the  idea  into  material  form,  and  I  can- 
not think  of  any  better  way  of  suggesting  that  this  One 
had  escaped  death  than  by  making  Him  visibly  ascend 
from  this  earth.  What  became  eventually  of  the  body  it 
is  scarcely  in  our  province  to  determine  ;  but  since  we 
are  told  that  a  condensation  of  gases  in  the  atmosphere 
can  make  a  solid  body  like  a  thunderbolt,  it  is  competent 
for  us  to  imagine  that  His  body  was  resolved  into  its 
original  elements,  to  be  reorganised  perhaps  at  a  later 

You  ask  about  my  subjects.  As  I  am  very  anxious 
that  you  should  see  my  pictures  without  any  preconceived 
ideas  in  your  mind,  I  would  rather  defer  revealing  them. 
I  may  perhaps  in  the  spring  get  one  of  these  finished,  and 
I  shall  come  with  it  to  England,  and  then  I  shall  ask  you 
to  tell  me  whether  my  work  is  good  or  bad.  I  am  paint- 
ing very  hard  indeed.      I  should   like,  meantime,  to  know 


what  you   are   doing,  for  you  are  working   among  others 
and  perhaps  not  keeping  your  subjects  a  secret. 

But  I  must  shut  up  now.  Kind  regards  to  your  wife, 
and  any  friends  you  meet. — Yours  ever, 

W.  HoLMAN  Hunt. 

I  find  among  my  papers  of  this  next  year,  too,  a 
continuation  of  the  Holman  Hunt  correspondence, 
which,  long  as  the  letters  are,  ought  to  be  introduced 
here.  He  is  still  painting  in  Jerusalem,  and  still 
thinking  about  religious  matters  ;  but  he  is  becom- 
ing tinged  with  a  morbid  distrust  of  his  own  great 
powers,  and  also  with  doubts  of  his  friends  at  home. 
He  is  evidently  shut  up  too  much  by  himself,  and 
working  too  hard — confined  too  much  to  one  subject. 
This  first  letter  is  dated  20th  February  1871. 

My  dear  Scott — I  was  glad  to  hear  from  you  at  last. 
Your  letter  came  by  our  latest  post.  Your  long  silence 
had  not  led  me  to  think  that  you  were  bitten  with  the 
fever  which  so  many  of  my  friends  and  acquaintances 
seem  to  suffer  from,  making  them  conclude  I  arn  a  mon- 
strously over-rated  person,  and  that  it  is  their  particular 
duty  to  let  me  know  this  important  fact  as  distinctly  as 
their  several  natures  will  allow.  After  exhausting  the 
surmises  of  accidental  hindrances,  the  danger  was  that  I 
should  jump  to  this  conclusion  ;  but  my  constant  experi- 
ence of  your  extremely  broad  principles  in  estimating  art 
and  character  forbade  me  to  take  such  a  leap  as  I  might 
have  done  with  others.  But  there  are  not  many  of  the 
band  who  used  to  treat  me  as  their  authority,  who  have 
not  lately  indulged  in  a  conscientious  avowal  of  their 
recognition  of  my  demerits !  Thus  the  wind  blows 
towards  the  sun  ! 

I  hope,  after  all  your  trouble  in  the  old  house  you 
have  taken  [Bellevue   House,  Chelsea],  you  will   find   it  a 

VOL.  II  H 

98  ]  VILLI  AM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

comfortable  haven  of  rest.  I  remember  looking  at  and 
talking  of  it  with  friends  many  times  as  an  inviting  one 
for  an  artist.  Chelsea  I  have  always  liked  ;  but  when  in 
England  last  I  was  obliged  to  avoid  all  proximity  to  the 
Thames  from  having  the  Syrian  ague  in  my  blood.  This 
guest  would  probably  be  no  quieter  from  my  second 
residence  here,  which  has  given  me  two  or  three  fresh 
attacks  of  it  ;  so  if  I  ever  come  to  live  in  London,  I  shall 
still  have  to  choose  Kensington,  Hampstead,  or  Highgate 
as  my  place  of  torture  from  organ-grinders,  halfpenny  (?) 
postmen,  tax-collectors,  etc. 

We  are  going  to  be  still  farther  apart,  it  seems,  in  the 
next  life  !  You  are  going  into  the  Elysian  fields  with  all 
the  genius  of  the  age,  while  I  am  to  make  myself  as 
comfortable  as  circumstances  will  permit  with  greasy 
methodists  and  spick-and-span  orthodox  parsons  in  the 
commonplace  heaven  ;  but  I  have  not  Dante's  assurance 
in  claiming  Paradise  for  my  home.  I  don't  pretend  to 
know  what  my  deserts  may  be — but  it  will  be  said  that  I 
am  rather  too  fast  here,  counting  too  much  on  my  host 
where  no  host  may  be  found,  seeing  God  Almighty  does 
not  exist  at  all.  Here  was  a  truth  to  discover  !  Hitherto 
men  of  worldly  wealth  only  delighted  in  the  thought  ;  I 
think  no  one  of  intellect  in  any  century  before  ours  could 
have  done  it :  an  inspiration — no,  that's  not  the  word — a 
conception,  in  all  the  majesty  of  the  big-boy  style,  at  first 
by  Shelley,  not  held  proudly  by  him  later,  but  now  by 
other  combinations  of  poetic  atoms,  even  more  newly 
moulded  from  earth,  but  now  published  as  settled  with 
omniscient  penetration  of  mind  that  can  reach  within  the 
innermost  veil  of  all,  and  discover  there  is  nothing,  where 
poets  before  them  have  dreaded  even  to  peep,  lest  an 
awful  majesty  should  revenge  itself.  Thus  foolish  genera- 
tions have  died  in  the  hope  of  reward  for  their  awe  at 
least.  Unhappy  slaves  were  these  who  without  the 
eternal  halo  of  genius  round  their  names  are  lost  in  the 
world  to  come.  I  have  no  idea  of  the  grim  sublimity  :  it 
seems  to  me  that   in   this  day  the   eternal   powers   I    re- 


cognise  have  a  great  sense  of  fun,  and  that  were  they 
such  as  we,  they  might  be  in  some  danger  of  convulsions 
just  now.^ 

You  say  true,  that  I  have  had  no  experience  whatever 
of  (professional)  spiritualism  of  a  kind  to  justify  me  in 
believing  in  any  celestial  guidance  of  the  affairs  of  the 
world,  and  that  I  have  no  arguments  to  offer  in  proof  of 
the  possibility  of  facts  such  as  those  recorded  in  the 
Testament.  But  in  my  own  experience  I  have  had 
occasional  presentiments  r.nd  other  psychological  con- 
sciousnesses, of  a  nature  that  forbid  me  the  conclusion 
that  we  are  mere  burning  bonfires,  to  cease  with  the  con- 
sumption of  the  fuel.  These  experiences,  of  course,  would 
only  serve  to  my  own  conviction,  and  so  they  need  not  be 
cited  ;  from  the  conclusions  they  suggest  to  me,  however, 
it  is  an  easy  transition  to  the  best  religious  revelation  I 
can  find.  I  thought  perhaps  your  own  consciousness  had 
given  you  something  not  less  indicative  of  post-terrestrial 
vitality  than  I  had  experienced  ;  every  man  must  be 
guided  by  his  own  light  :  if  I  can  find  any  that  suits  me 
more  than  that  I  see  by  at  present,  so  much  the  better. 

I  hope  you  will  not  give  up  painting,  but  am  glad  you 
are  writing  on  art.  There  is  a  temperance  and  an  insight 
at  the  same  time  that  practical  men  have,  wanting  in  the 
criticisms  of  those  who  have  no  means  of  testing  and 
refining  their  groping  ideas  and  theories.  The  fault 
practical  men  are  in  danger  of,  in  writing  for  the  public, 
is  the  adoption  of  a  spirit  of  severity  and  exclusiveness 
necessary  for  the  studio,  where  we  must  settle  upon  one 
particular  treatment  only.  No  man  that  I  know  is  freer 
from  this  peril  than  you. 

As   yet    I    have   no   confidence   that    I    shall    get   my 

1  I  cannot  now  remember  in  the  least  what  could  have  called 
forth  this  astounding  tirade.  It  must  have  been  some  report  or 
statement  in  my  letter  Hunt  had  just  then  received.  In  copying  this 
out,  at  first  I  began  by  combing  the  entangled  sentences  a  little 
smooth,  but  soon  gave  that  process  up.  He  seems  to  have  been  in 
such  a  state  of  excitement  that  his  language  flew  in  tatters.  The 
reader  must  puzzle  out  the  intention  of  his  harangue. 


picture  done.  Much  depends  on  the  weather  ;  lately  it 
has  been  so  wet  and  windy  I  have  not  been  able  to  get 
out  of  doors  to  paint.  Unless  there  is  a  break  I  have  no 
chance  whatever.  Fortunately  there  is  a  prospect  of  this, 
but  at  the  best  I  am  in  doubt.  If  I  come  home  it  will  be 
about  the  end  of  April  ;  should  I  be  too  late  for  this  I 
shall  probably  stay  here  another  year,  and  thus  get  enough 
done  to  be  able  to  move  to  another  part  of  the  world  for 
future  work.  ...  I  am  glad  to  hear  there  is  a  chance  of 
England  doing  something  in  art  after  all !  The  discour- 
aging fact  I  saw  was  that  men  were  getting  into  the  way 
of  doing  annuals,  a  certain  number  for  every  season.  At 
the  Paris  Exhibition  of  i  8  5  6  I  was  much  struck  by  the 
insignificance  of  certain  pictures  that  had  been  great  stars 
on  their  first  appearance  in  Trafalgar  Square.  The 
French,  with  what  seemed  to  me  decidedly  lower  painting 
talent,  were  doing  better  things,  showing  the  particular 
qualities  we  had  in  such  perfection  up  to  about  thirty 
years  ago  in  \\  ilkie,  in  Turner,  and  even  in  Leslie — 
freedom  from  pose-plastique  or  theatrical  character.  We 
seemed  to  have  lost  and  the  French  to  have  gained  this, 
but  without  the  poetry  and  beauty,  and  it  struck  me  we 
had  got  in  exchange  qualities  that  would  not  wear  very 
well  :  but  the  evil  may  correct  itself  Certainly  as 
years  go  on  in  one's  life  they  teach  us  that  many  things 
one  looked  to  to  give  life  interest  are  mere  bubbles  ; 
one's  occupation  of  time  becomes  even  more  sacred. 
In  this  way  I  feel  the  most  intense  desire  that  our 
country  should  be  glorious  in  art,  at  least  in  painting,  in 
which  it  has  certainly  done  enough  to  give  hope  were 
there  architectural  patronage. — Yours  ever  truly, 

W.  HoLMAN  Hunt. 

P.S. — I  add  a  postscript  and  a  bit  of  maidenhair  fern, 
from  Nazareth,  for  your  wife.  I  collected  it  myself  from 
a  cave  there,  so  I  know  it  is  genuine,  which  will  make  her 
value  it  the  more. 

Ah,  the  war !      I  of  course  have  not  had  the  details 


that  every  one  in  London  has  devoured,  but  it  has  been  a 
subject  of  exciting  interest  to  us  all  :  the  poor  French 
connected  with  the  Consulate  seem  to  have  lost  all  their 
life.  Ordinarily  all  Europeans  come  out  at  five  or  six  for 
a  promenade,  the  Consuls  attended  by  kawasses  (con- 
stables with  long  silver  batons)  ;  but  after  the  reverses  of 
their  army  the  French  postponed  their  walk  until  dark, 
when  all  but  myself  had  abandoned  the  road,  and  latterly, 
since  the  greater  distresses,  they  have  hidden  themselves 
altogether.  When  by  chance  one  was  met  he  nearly 
always  had  red  eyelids,  and  had  lost  all  his  national 
gaiety.  There  is  one  very  nice  fellow  here,  a  concelleria 
to  the  Consul,  who  recently,  having  absolutely  disappeared 
till  then,  came  and  called  upon  me,  perhaps  because  he 
heard  that  I  avoided  every  other  soul  in  the  place,  and  I 
have  made  an  exception  with  him,  and  enjoy  seeing  him. 
It  is  more  fortunate  that  I  happen  to  have  anti-Prussian 
feelings  of  late,  this  because  I  feel  persuaded  that  Bismarck 
played  the  whole  game  of  bringing  on  the  war  at  his  own 
foolish  time,  managing  so  to  irritate  L.  N.  and  the  French 
nation,  that  they  saved  him  from  the  appearance  of  being 
its  author.  When  the  Prince  of  Prussia  was  here,  without 
seeking  the  honour,  I  had  the  privilege  of  talking  with  him 
and  some  of  his  suite,  and  they  impressed  me  as  such 
superior  people,  that  the  success  of  their  army  has  not 
surprised  me.  I  believe  it  is,  where  other  things  are  equal, 
personal  morality  tells  in  an  army.  What  could  be  ex- 
pected from  a  set  of  immoral  braggarts  like  the  French 
soldiers  against  a  set  of  vigorous  husbands  and  healthy 
lads  with  honest  sweethearts  behind  them  —  as  the 
Prussians  are  ?  I  dislike  the  Prussians  only  because  they 
seem  to  be  at  this  juncture  Machiavellian -led,  and  are 
believing  in  craft  for  national  policy,  and  are  successful  in 
this  for  the  time. 

I  was  here  when  the  Crimean  War  was  going  on  there. 
I  could  not  understand  how  people  in  England  could 
think,  as  they  seemed  to  do,  of  anything  else.  When  I 
heard  of  a  man  marr\'in"-  it  struck  me  as  being  against  all 


natural  feeling  :  I  was  wrong  of  course,  but  remembering 
that  time  I  am  now  rather  surprised  and  pleased  to  see 
how  much  England  seems  stirred  at  the  misery  of  this 
war.  Is  the  world  getting  softer-hearted  ?  I  hate  war, 
but  sometimes  reading  of  it  I  feel  a  fury  urging  me  to 
rush  into  its  midst  and  spill  my  life,  in  desperation  to 
have  done  with  a  world  in  which  I  can  see  no  place  for 
peace  and  hope.  W.  H.  H. 

Jerusalem,  ^oth  September  1871. 

My  dear  old  Scott — I  should  never  have  let  so 
long  a  time  go  by  without  acknowledging  and  answering 
your  last  letter,  but,  indeed,  this  picture  of  mine  treats  me 
so  severely  that  I  am  a  miserable  slave,  with  no  time  for 
anything  but  just  the  attempt  to  sustain  life  and  strength 
enough  to  wrestle  with  my  work,  which  plays  the  part  of 
a  tenacious  foe.  I  ha\e  engaged  m}^self  in  a  very 
difficult  struggle,  and  I  have  been  unwise  in  many  ways 
in  the  battle.  Do  you  remember  Herodotus's  account  of 
Sc}-thian  warriors,  who  being  absent  on  a  long  campaign, 
came  back  to  find  that  their  impatient  wives,  anticipating 
widowhood,  had  elevated  their  hewers  of  wood  and  drawers 
of  water  into  the  position  of  second  husbands,  and  that  these 
their  successors  came  out  armed  to  do  battle,  and  indeed 
did  valiantly  contend  with  the  veteran  warriors,  until  one 
old  Ulysses  said  in  council,  "  What  do  we  ?  W'e  are  treating 
our  slaves  like  equals,  and  so  they  are  inflated  with 
courage  to  fight  with  us  ;  but  now  follow  me,  and  we  will 
soon  vanquish  them."  So  sa}-ing  he  took  a  whip,  and  with 
this  rushed  into  the  ranks  of  the  impudent  servants,  and 
thus  put  the  ignoble  rabble  to  rout.  Now,  you  see,  I 
change  my  relative  position  to  show  the  application  of 
this.  I  am  now  in  my  psychical  entity  one  of  the  Scythian 
warriors.  My  picture  in  its  conceived  perfection  is  the 
disputed  plane  of  the  eternal  earth,  or  part  of  it.  My 
happiness  and  ease  are  my  wife  (or  wives,  for  I  may  be  a 
polygamist  in  my  art  loves).  I  have  too  long  left  the 
dwelling-place  of  comfort,  and  now  m}'  paints,  my  brushes, 


my  tools,  my  aids,  the  sun,  morning,  evening,  working  time 
and  resting  time,  the  wind,  the  clouds — all  my  helpers  in 
proper  place  have  risen  with  my  peace  of  mind,  long  since 
unfaithful  to  me,  to  oppose  my  resumption  of  my  rights. 
And  here  I  recognise  the  wisdom  of  the  old  Scythian's 
counsel — too  long  unacted  upon  because  I  have  been  im- 
patient, and  too  anxious  to  take  vengeance  upon  my  slaves. 
If  I  had  treated  them  from  the  beginning  more  contempt- 
uously I  might  long  ago  have  vanquished  them.  To  speak 
prosaically  and  plainly,  I  have  grappled  with  the  difficulties 
of  this  picture  so  seriously  and  slavishly  for  so  long  that 
I  suffer  now  in  my  capacity  for  completing  it  from  want 
of  that  elasticity  of  mind  so  essential  to  one  for  triumph- 
ing over  the  final  difficulties  of  a  picture.  But,  indeed,  in 
this  case  there  was  no  choice,  for  the  work  had  and  has 
peculiar  obstacles,  which  could  only  be  confronted  by 
extra  and  even  unlimited  steadiness.  Without  this  I 
should  have  had  to  give  up  my  work,  and  with  it  the 
question  is  whether  I  shall  not  then  be  like  a  warrior 
who,  in  conquering,  has  desolated  the  country  and  made 
it  worthless  ;  nous  verrons.  Looking  at  it  in  my  dejection, 
I  am  apt  too  much  to  trust  the  cheerless  view  of  the 
end  ;  however,  rest  may  give  me  a  better  idea  of  it.  I 
have  no  loving  eyes  to  cheer  me  such  as  I  hoped  to  have 
ever  with  me  when  I  left  England.  I  shall  enjoy  the 
opportunity  of  showing  it  to  you  whatever  its  prospects 
may  be,  for  to  have  come  to  an  end  with  it,  and  to  be 
free  to  do  another  picture,  will  in  itself  be  a  comfort. 

Do  you  know — not  in  a  manner  of  speaking,  but  in 
sober  earnestness — I  thought  in  the  middle  of  the  summer 
it  would  be  the  death  of  me.  I  got  but  about  four  hours' 
sleep  each  day,  and  these  were  scarcely  rest,  for  my 
feverish  anxiety  went  on  through  the  night,  and  I  dreamed 
of  nothing  but  newly-discovered  faults — of  paint  drying 
before  it  could  be  blended,  of  wind  blowing  down  my 
picture  and  breaking  it,  etc.  —  until  my  eyes  sank  so 
deep  into  my  head,  and  1  became  green,  and  my  body 
seemed    such   a   heav\',  stiff,  and   unelastic   corpse   that    I 

I04  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

thought  the  next  stage  must  be  cofifinward.  And  now 
that  it  is  past,  people  here  tell  me  they  thought  me  a 
doomed  man.  Had  I  got  a  fever  or  any  illness,  I  daresay 
I  should  have  made  my  way  to  the  place,  whichever  it  is, 
reserved  for  me— either  the  meeting  with  all  that  are  dear 
and  gone  or,  if  you  will,  the  dreamless  sleep,  which  alter- 
natives Socrates  regards  even  at  the  lowest  as  enviable,  and 
he  had  children  and  friends  too.  His  interest  in  the  next 
world  or  no  world  had  grown  into  such  a  curiosity  that 
nothing  was  so  dear  to  him  as  the  opportunity  of  satisfying 
it.  I  can  imagine  too  he  reasoned  about  his  children 
thus  : — If  there  were  tutelar  gods,  these  would  look  after 
them  ;  if  none,  it  mattered  nothing  what  course  they  took, 
only  let  the  cock  be  paid  to  Esculapius,  for  that  is  a  debt. 
As  I  grow  older  I  have  enough  of  this  feeling  to  make 
me,  in  the  possibility  of  death,  unusually  careless  ;  and 
thus  during  the  time  I  speak  of  I  did  not  take  a  step  to 
change  my  fate,  for  my  life  has  not  often  been  a  joyful 

I  think  my  rides  out  on  Sunday  saved  me.  As  I  lay 
out  on  the  hillside  taking  my  lunch  and  watching  the 
horse  graze,  I  felt  like  a  sponge  sucking  in  ease  and  health 
at  every  breath,  and  this  restored  me  for  the  week.  There  is 
a  man  here  whom  I  have  made  into  a  model,  and  who  was 
a  notorious  highway  robber.  I  did  not  know  of  his  wild 
side  at  first.  He  has  become  very  much  attached  to  me, 
and  when  I  want  to  find  out-of-the-way  places  I  take  him 
with  me  on  excursions  at  times.  He  rides  like  a  Centaur, 
but  with  his  knees  up  to  the  horse's  shoulders,  as  all  Arabs 
do  ;  and  as  his  old  character  is  still  accredited  to  him,  we 
strike  a  wholesome  dread  into  all  the  country  wherever 
we  go  ;  but  we  are  very  harmless,  although  armed  to  the 
teeth,  which  is  necessary  since,  owing  to  the  tameness  of 
our  present  improved  views  of  Government  in  England, 
Englishmen  are  without  any  civil  means  of  redress  for 
injuries  done  to  them.  Thieves,  if  caught,  are  kept  in 
hand  until  they  or  their  friends  pay  a  good  bribe  to  the 
Cady,  the   Pasha's  secretary,  and   the   Consul's   dragoman, 


and  then  they  are  discharged  to  repay  themselves  by 
other  robberies.  Just  within  the  last  three  weeks  a  party 
of  Arabs,  who  murdered  an  English  subject  here  about 
fourteen  years  ago,  have  been  liberated.  They  were 
apprehended  on  the  evidence  of  an  eye-witness,  who  gave 
evidence  about  three  months  past.  They  got  off,  it  is 
declared,  at  an  expense  of  ;^200,  divided  between  the 
above-mentioned  worthies.  I  would  confer  with  the 
Consul  about  it,  and  publish  the  facts  in  England,  but  I 
have  no  time  to  get  into  another  row.  My  correspondence 
with  the  bishop  about  a  certain  rascal  whom  he  was  pro- 
tecting sixteen  years  ago  cost  me  too  much  time  to  allow 
me  to  venture  expressions  of  moral  indignation  for  public 
good.  The  gentleman  in  question,  too,  at  that  time  tried 
to  murder  me  with  his  gang  of  housebreakers,  but  found 
me  too  wary,  which  I  might  not  be  again  against  a  similar 
attempt.  Soon  after  he  was  apprehended,  sentenced  to 
have  his  right  hand  cut  off,  and  to  be  imprisoned  for  life. 
But  last  Sunday  when  alone  I  met  him  on  the  road,  he 
having  escaped  both  evils  by  becoming  convinced  of  the 
exclusive  orthodoxy  of  the  Latin  Church  !  Thus  he  gained 
the  protection  of  the  French  Consul,  who  liberated  him  for 
fresh  villainies.  He  politely  recognised  me  in  passing,  but 
if  he  had  thought  of  avenging  himself  thus  late,  he  deferred 
it  out  of  respect  to  a  double -barrel  breech-loader  gun 
which  I  held  slightly  raised  on  my  saddle,  and  which  his 
pistol  would  scarcely  have  been  a  match  for. 

You  refer  with  much  surprise  to  the  idea  I  expressed 
that  I  had  some  enemies  of  a  less  outlawry  character  in 
England,  and  you  prove  to  me  that  I  have  many  friends, 
which  I  rejoice  to  acknowledge.  I  would,  however,  give 
you  some  instances  on  the  other  hand,  which  might  serve 
to  raise  laughter  as  much  as  grief ;  yet  the  balance  in 
my  account  just  now  would  be  of  the  painful  sort,  so  I  will 
not  rake  up  the  question  any  more. 

I  am  sorry  to  believe  your  assurance  that  you  are 
amongst  the  unhappy  ones  of  the  earth.  I  had  always  re- 
garded you  as  one  who  had  made  peace,  as  well  as  a  truce, 

io6  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap,  vii 

with  life  ;  but  the  bitterness  is  not  felt  least  by  those  who 
show  it  least.  My  trust  is  only  in  the  ultimate  loving 
goodness  of  the  Great  Father  ;  without  this  I  should  lose 
all  patience.      You  gave  me  the  news  of  the  engagement 

of  Miss  Y .      X is  a  lucky  fellow  to  get  such  a 

wife.  I  wonder  all  the  unmarried  men  in  London,  with 
anything  approaching  a  Roman  nose,  from  little  Tom  to  big 

Z ,  did  not  engage  in  a  series  of  combats  for  her.      My 

crotchet  is  that  no  fellow  without  an  aquiline  profile  should 
marry  a  girl  deficient  thus,  so  I  should  never  have  engaged 

in  the  contest.     Y pere  deserves  no  commiseration,  for 

I   heard  that  when  the  young  lady  once  wanted  to  marry 

the  beautiful   Lord ,  he  was  not  even  then   satisfied 

with  the  proposed  son  -  in  -  law\  My  story  may  be  all 
wrong :  anyhow  the  father  was  not  pleased.  Kind 
regards  to  Mrs.  Scott. — Yours  ever, 

W.  HoLMAN  Hunt. 


I  868    TO   1870 ^lY  R'INGS  QUAIR  PICTURES  AT  PENKILL 





For  three  years  or  so  before  the  summer  of  1868  I 
had  been  largely  employed  on  the  windows  in  the 
South  Kensington  Keramic  Gallery.  Intensely- 
coloured  windows  were  found  demoralising  in  a 
museum,  and  will  be  so  found,  I  affirm,  everywhere 
on  a  somewhat  wider  experience  of  their  result  in 
destroying  the  adequate  effect  on  the  eye  of  all 
objects  seen  by  their  light.  My  instruction  from 
Mr.  Cole  was  to  represent  a  pictorial  history  of  the 
Keramic  arts  in  a  medium  that  would  obscure  the 
prospect  through  the  windows,  and  prevent  the  sun- 
shine being  offensive,  without  blinding  the  spectator 
by  the  violent  colours  of  "  pot-metal,"  as  the  glass- 
painters  call  glass  on  which  the  colours  are  flushed 
in  the  making.  After  many  breakages  I  succeeded 
in  giving  the  designs  In  graffito,  painted  on  burnt 
umber  ground  in  silica,  making  a  true  picture  like 

io8  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

a  great  etching,  only  partially  picked  out  orna- 
mentally in  bright  yellow.  The  long  series  of 
windows  were  now  finished,  as  also  were  my 
staircase  pictures  at  Penkill  from  James  I.'s  poem 
The  King  s  Qtiair. 

It  was  now  midsummer,  and  E^.,  finding  D. 
G.  R.  in  a  depression  of  mind  from  the  idea 
that  his  eyes  were  failing,  prevailed  upon  him  to 
accompany  me  to  Ayrshire  for  an  autumn  vacation. 
He  did  so  ;  we  were  a  party  of  four — Miss  Boyd's 
cousin.  Miss  Losh  of  Ravenside,  being  a  visitor 
at  that  time.  This  old  lady  —  she  was  about 
seventy  years  of  age  —  had  somehow  or  other 
taken  a  jealous  dislike  to  me,  thinking  I  had  too 
much  influence  over  her  younger  cousin,  who  en- 
tertained me  so  much  and  who  lived  with  us  in 
London  in  the  winter.  She  had  therefore  looked 
forward  to  Rossetti's  appearance,  fully  intending 
to  play  him  off  against  me,  which  accordingly  she 
did  in  the  most  fantastic  way,  without  in  the  least 
knowing  anything  of  the  fearful  skeletons  in  his 
closet,  that  were  every  night,  when  the  ladies  had 
gone,  brought  out  for  his  relief  and  my  recreation. 
These  skeletons,  which  were  also  made  to  dance 
along  the  mountain  highroad  during  our  long  walks, 
would  have  surprised  the  old  lady  not  a  little. 
They  shall  not  be  interviewed  here,  and  without 
them  we  got  on  pretty  well,  although  his  talk 
continually  turned  upon  his  chance  of  blindness 
and  the  question,  why  then  should  he  live  ?  "  Live 
for  your  poetry,"   said    L      Strangely  enough,  this 

D.    G.    ROSSETTI  109 

seemed  never  to  have  occurred  to  him  as  a  possible 
interest  or  resource.  Live  for  your  poetry  was 
echoed  by  the  ladies.^ 

We  determined  to  follow  up  the  suggestion,  little 
as  we  believed  in  the  seriousness  of  his  monomania 
about  blindness.  One  day,  when  Miss  Boyd  was 
with  us  on  a  walk  up  Penkill  Hill,  we  persuaded 
him  to  recall  such  of  his  poems  as  he  could  recollect, 
and  he  repeated  The  Song  of  the  Bower,  perhaps 
the  most  perfect  of  all  his  early  verses  in  harmony 
between  sound  and  sense,  cadence  and  sentiment. 
I  understood  because  I  knew  the  history  of  this 
pagan  poem  ;  yi3.  did  not,  having  neither  heard 
nor  read  any  of  his  verses,  except  such  as  were 
published  in  the  Germ,  or  in  the  Oxford  and 
Cambridge  Magazine.  She  could  scarcely  speak,  so 
moved  she  was,  and  I  confess  that  I  was  almost 
for  the  first  time  conscious  of  the  full  value  of 
his  faculty.  Lifted  to  a  rhetorical  moment  I  said 
much,  affirming  that  the  value  of  his  paintings 
lay  in  their  poetry,  that  he  was  a  poet  by  birth- 
right, not  a  painter.  After  this  I  found  there  was 
established  in  his  mind  a  new  prevailing  idea,  able 

1  [In  the  preface  to  his  "  Illustrations  of  the  King's  Quair," 
privately  printed  in  1887,  Mr.  Scott  refers  as  follows  to  this  incident  : 
"  Miss  Boyd  and  I  found  it  no  easy  matter  to  change  the  bias  of 
these  late  years  during  which  he  had  become  quite  successful  as  a 
painter.  Rossetti  was  a  poet  before  he  was  a  painter,  and  will  prob- 
ably retain  his  place  as  a  poet  when  his  pictures  are  mainly  remem- 
bered by  their  poetic  suggestions  in  design.  We  recalled  him  so 
strenuously  to  his  early  love,  making  him  repeat  the  poems  he  re- 
membered, that  at  last  suddenly,  like  a  dying  man  with  a  new  life 
transfused  into  his  veins,  he  became  absorbed  in  the  desire  to  have 
them  all  written  out  and  printed." — Ed.] 


to  contend  with  the  monomania,  and  when  we  left 
for  London  at  the  end  of  September  he  had  begun 
to  write  out  many  of  his  lost  poems,  his  memory 
being  so  good.  Many  loose  poems  he  also  had 
by  him  in  manuscript,  and  by  and  by  he  began  to 
send  them  to  the  printer. 

Before    this    return   to   town,   however,   the   old 
lady's  admiration   had   culminated   in  an   offer  of  a 
loan    of    money    to    any    amount    to    prevent    him 
using   his  eyes   in   painting  or  in   any  other  trying 
occupation ;    he   would    get    better   and    repay   her, 
but    till    then    he    might    depend    on    her.       This 
generous  offer  was  made  one  morning.      He  never 
got  up  till  near  midday,  my  difficulty  every  evening 
being  to  leave   him   after  we   had  emptied  endless 
tumblers  of  the  wine  of  the  country  in  the  shape 
of  whisky -toddy.      This  morning  she  had  him  all 
to   herself,   and   her  daily   delight  was   to  see   him 
smashing  his  eggs  on  the  plate,  to  the  loss  of  half 
of  them,   and   making   innumerable   impressions   of 
his  tea-cup  on  the  damask  table-cloth.      "  You  see, 
Alice    dear,"    she    would    say    to    /B.,    "he    is    not 
like  one  of  us,  he  is  a  great  man,  can't  attend  to 
trifles,   is    always    occupied   with    great    ideas  1 "    so 
she  was  often  left  to  enjoy  the  sight  all  by  herself 
at  that  hour  of  the  day.     She  intended  indeed  that 
this  plan  should  be  a  secret  one  between  them,  but 
no  sooner  had  we  started  on  our  daily  constitutional 
than  he  entrusted  it  to  me,  with  much  effusion  and 
gratitude,  at  the  same  time  protesting  he  would  never 
think  of  availing   himself  of  her  kindness.      This 

D.    G.    ROSSETTI  m 

determination  I  strenuously  encouraged,  and  we 
heard  no  more  of  the  matter  until  after  the  old 
lady's  death,  when  the  evidences  to  the  contrary 
were  all  too  clear. 

Rossetti  returned  with  me  to  Penkill  next 
summer.  A  great  part  of  my  occupation  in  the 
intervening  winter  had  been  preparing  my  Life  and 
Works  of  Albert  Dilrer,  not  a  bad  book  at  the 
time,  as,  strange  to  say,  there  was  no  such  work 
previously  published,  even  in  Germany,  to  my 
knowledge.  The  difficulty  with  me  was  the  trans- 
lation of  Diirer's  own  letters  and  journal,  which 
were  spelt  phonetically  and  rendered  archaic  by 
the  three  centuries  and  a  half  that  had  passed 
since  they  were  written.  At  that  time,  at  Girvan, 
there  lived  a  priest  who  had  been  educated  at  the 
Scotch  (originally  Irish)  college  at  Ratisbon,  so 
I  took  my  materials  down,  as  I  had  done  the 
previous  season,  and  he  kindly  assisted  me.  As 
to  Rossetti,  he  was  more  hypochondriacal  than  ever, 
and  our  nightly  sederunts  more  prolonged,  so  I 
did  not  do  much,  and  Mr.  Reid,  the  priest  in 
question,  had  rather  a  holiday.  Neither  Aj.  nor 
I  saw  or  heard  anything  of  chloral ;  we  have 
therefore  come  to  the  conclusion  that  no  such 
habit  as  that  which  was  so  injurious  to  him  after 
his  severe  and  too  real  illness  had  then  been 
contracted.  Miss  Losh  was  not  at  Penkill  that 
season,  so  Miss  Boyd  sometimes  drove  us  about 
the  country,  instead  of  leaving  us  to  take  those 
long  walks   I   found  so  trying  in  the  previous  year. 


One  day  she  took  us  to  the  Lady's  Glen,  a  romantic 
ravine  in  which  the  stream  falls  into  a  black  pool 
round  which  the  surrounding  vertical  rocks  have 
been  worn  by  thousands  of  years  of  rotating  flood 
into  a  circular  basin  called,  as  many  such  have 
been  designated,  the  Devil's  Punch-Bowl.  We  all 
descended  to  the  overhanging  margin  of  the  super- 
incumbent rock  ;  but  never  shall  I  forget  the  ex- 
pression of  Gabriel's  face  when  he  bent  over  the 
precipice  peering  into  the  unfathomed  water  dark 
as  ink,  in  which  sundry  waifs  flew  round  and 
round  like  lost  souls  in  hell.  In  no  natural 
spectacle  had  I  ever  known  him  to  take  any 
visible  interest ;  the  expression  on  his  pale  face 
did  not  indicate  such  interest ;  it  said,  as  both 
Miss  Boyd  and  I  at  the  same  moment  interpreted 
it,  "One  step  forward  and  I  am  free!"  But  his 
daily  talk  of  suicide  had  not  given  him  courage  ; 
the  chance  so  suddenly  and  unexpectedly  brought 
within  his  grasp  paralysed  him.  I  advanced  to 
him,  trembling  I  confess,  for  I  could  not  speak. 
I  could  not  have  saved  him  ;  we  were  standing 
on  a  surface,  slippery  as  glass  by  the  wet  green 
lichen.  Suddenly  he  turned  round,  and  put  his 
hand  in  mine,  an  action  which  showed  he  was 
losing  self-command  and  that  fear  was  mastering 
him.  When  we  were  safely  away  we  all  sat  down 
together  without  a  word,  but  with  faces  too  con- 
scious of  each  other's  thoughts. 

So    for    that   time    we    escaped,    and    after    all 
I    did    continue  to   be  his   keeper,   or  at   least   his 

D.    G.   ROSSETTI 

companion.  We  encountered  no  such  danger 
again,  but  on  the  very  next  day,  I  think  it  was, 
occurred  an  adventure  more  extraordinary  than 
any  I  have  ever  heard  of  in  connection  with  a 
man  writing  his  best  poetry,  painting  his  best 
pictures,  and  exercising  a  daily  shrewdness  of 
business  habits,  the  wonder  and  admiration  of  all 
who  were  in  any  way  connected  with  him.  The 
feeble-minded  English  law  declares  the  suicide  to  be 
of  unsound  mind,  whereas  he  is  anything  but  that ; 
it  is  the  privilege  of  man  alone,  the  only  reasoning 
suicidal  creature  in  the  world. 

But   the   circumstance   I    am  now  to  relate,  in- 
dicating the  subversion  of  reason  itself,  it  appears 
to  me   highly  desirable   to   place  on  record.      It    is 
a    problem    for    doctors    and    psychologists    alike. 
Mounting    the    ascending    road    towards    Barr,    we 
observed   a  small   bird,   a   chaffinch,   exactly  in   our 
path.      We  advanced  :    it  did   not  fly  but  remained 
quite  still,  continuing  so  till  he  stooped  down  and  lifted 
it.      He  held  it  in  his  hand  :  it  manifested  no  alarm. 
"  What  is  the  meaning  of  this  ?  "   I  heard  him  say  to 
himself,  and  I  observed  his  hand  was  shaking  with 
emotion.      "Oh,"   I    said,   "put  the   pretty  creature 
down  again.     It  is  strange  certainly:  it  must  be  very 
young,  perhaps  a  tame  one  escaped  from  a  cage." 
"  Nonsense  !  "  was  his  reply,  still  speaking  sotto  voce, 
"you  are  always  against  me,  Scott.      I   can  tell  you 
what  it  is,  it  is  my  wife,  the  spirit  of  my  wife,   the 
soul    of   her    has    taken    this    shape ;  something    is 
going  to  happen  to  me."      To  this  I  had  nothing  to 

VOL.   II  I 

114  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

reply,  but  when  we  reached  home  in  silence,   by  a 
chance  which  often  takes  place  in  life,  incidents  of 
similar  kinds  falling  together,  Miss   Boyd  hailed  us 
with  the  news  that  the  household  had  had  a  surprise 
— the  house  bell,  which  takes  a  strong  pull  to  ring 
it,  had  been  rung,  and  rung  by  nobody !     Rossetti 
inquired  when    this   had    taken  place,    and    finding 
it    must   have  been  just   about   the  time   when  we 
met  the  bird,  he  turned  his  curiously  ferocious  look 
upon  me,  asking  what  I  thought  now  ? — a  question 
as    perplexing    as    the    conviction    under  which  he 
laboured !     But   I    observed   he  did   not    relate  the 
story  of  the    bird    to    Miss    Boyd    with    the    same 
confidence  he  had  shown  at  first,  and  when  he  saw 
she  was  altogether  averse   to  entertain  it,  he  shut 
up  at  once.      Nothing  more  was  said  at  the  time, 
but  we    have   thought   of  it   often   since,   trying  in 
vain  to  understand  him/     He  had  brought  a  mass 
of   "proofs,"    and    nearly    every    day    brought  him 
more.      But  besides  he   was  writing  better  than  in 
the    earlier    days :    both    Eden    Bozvcr   and     Troy 
Town    were    elaborated    now.     Almost    every  day 
he    would    seclude    himself    in    the    glen.      Here    I 
used  to  find  him  face  to  the  wall  lying  in  a  shallow 
cave    that    went    by    the    name    of    a    seventeenth- 
century   Covenanter,   Bennan's    Cave,  working   out 
with    much  elaboration    and    little    inspiration.    The 

1  [In  the  "Illustrations"  already  quoted,  Mr.  Scott  says  of  Ros- 
setti :  "  His  whole  nature  destined  him  to  have  a  tragic,  not  a  comic 
or  placid  background  to  his  journey  in  this  world.  This,  and  his  pro- 
found love  of,  and  actual  faith  in,  the  marvellous,  made  him  not  only 
the  dearest  of  friends  before  bad  health  o\ertook  him,  but  the  most 
interesting  of  men." — Ed.] 

D.    G.    ROSSETTI 

Streams  Secret.  After  it  was  done  he  did  not 
know  what  to  call  this  poem,  till  reading- 
over  my  series  of  sonnets  called  The  Old  Scotch 
Ho2tse,    and     finding    one    called     "The    Stream's 

Secret,"  he  simply  appropriated  that  name  for  his 
own  performance.  Nothing  would  restrain  him  : 
"  No  name  in  the  world  would  suit  me  but  that,  it 
expresses  what  I  want ! "  No  doubt  it  did,  but  it 
also  expressed  what   I  wanted  to  say  in  my  sonnet, 

ii6  IVILLfAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

which  ended  the  octave  with  the  words  "passing 
away,"  and  the  sestet  with  the  truth,  but  "  never  past 
away."'  A  deadly  quarrel  I  could  not  bear,  so  here, 
as  always,  he  had  his  way. 

One  advantage  he  •  gained  in  these  visits  to 
Penkill  was  a  knowledge  of  The  Kings  Qiiair,  i.e. 
book,  cahicr,  or  quire  of  paper,  and  an  interest  in 
the  author's  death,  which  afterwards  germinated 
into  The  KiJigs  Tragedy.  Perfectly  acquainted 
with  the  early  poetry  of  his  own  country,  properly 
so  called,  he  knew  nothing  of  that  of  this  country, 
and  the  perfectness  of  the  scheme  of  The  Kings 
Qiiair  struck  him  with  wonder.  Pity  it  was  he 
injured  his  Kings  Tragedy  by  trying  to  quote  some 
verses  of  the  original  turned  into  octo-syllabic  metre 
very  poorly. 

My  pictures,  which  had  been  finished  the  season 
before,  though  painted  in  a  wax  medium,  impress 
me  with  the  conviction  of  which  Sir  H.  Cole  was 
firmly  convinced,  that  any  wall-painting  in  this 
climate  is  a  mistake.  Part  of  the  circular  staircase 
was  an  outer  wall,  part  was  not.  The  last  only  has 
remained  perfect,  the  picture  on  the  outer  wall  had 
to  be  partly  repainted,  and  partly  lined  with  sheets 
of  zinc. 

But  I  must  return  to  the  story  of  my  dear  friend 
D.  G,  R.'s  poetic  studies.  They  led  him  out  of  one 
difficulty  into  another.  Before  he  left  us,  he  had 
a  volume  in  print,  thin  indeed  and  with  the  prose 
story  of  his  early  days  called  Hand  and  Soul 
inserted  at  the  end.      But  what  then  ?     He  would 

D.    G.    ROSSETTI  117 

not  publish.  There  cropped  up  the  fear  of  a  pubHc 
ordeal  of  miscellaneous  criticism,  which  had  prevented 
him  from  exhibiting  his  water-colour  pictures,  and  had 
shut  him  up  exclusively  in  his  own  studio.  If  he 
could  not  publish,  what  else  would  he  do  with  the 
printed  poems  ?  Give  them  to  his  friends  with  a 
preface  as  a  privately  printed  volume  ?  Even  for 
this,  considering  the  whole  question.  I  could  not 
help  agreeing  with  him,  that  the  introduction  of 
the  prose  tale  was  an  exhibition  of  poverty  not  to 
be  thought  of.  He  suddenly  determined  to  reclaim 
the  MS.  book  buried  with  his  wife.  What  he 
wanted  most  was  the  poem  called  "  Jenny,"  written 
at  the  same  time  as  he  painted  "  Found."  In  a  few 
days  he  was  gone. 

I  have  so  repeatedly  expressed  my  unbelief  in 
all  the  vulgar  or  popular  forms  of  supernaturalism 
that  I  feel  a  little  hesitation  in  recording  a  circum- 
stance resembling  that  class  of  things  which  began 
the  very  evening  after  his  departure.  I  could  now 
get  a  little  peace  to  revise  my  Diirer  Journal,  and 
my  German  friend  Mr.  Reid,  who  had  given  me 
an  hour,  stayed  to  dinner.  Rossetti's  habit  when 
composing  or  even  correcting  the  press,  w^as  to 
retire  after  dinner  to  the  room  above,  the  draw- 
ing-room of  the  old  house,  to  read  aloud  to  himself, 
when  by  himself.  This  he  did  In  a  voice  so  loud 
that  we  in  the  dining-room  beneath  could  almost  hear 
his  words.  Well,  as  we  w^ere  sitting  after  dinner, 
when  he  must  have  been  approaching  London  in 
the  train,  what   could  it   be  we  heard  .'^    The  usual 

ii8  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

voice  reading  to  itself  in  the  usual  place  over  our 
heads!  I  looked  at  JB.,  she  was  listening  intently 
till  she  could  bear  it  no  longer,  and  left  the  room. 
Our  learned  priest  found  me,  I  fancy,  to  be  rather 
distrait,  so  he  rose  saying  it  was  about  his  time,  and 
besides,  he  continued,  "  I  hear  Miss  Boyd  has  some 
friend  in  the  drawing-room,  so  I  won't  go  up.  Give 
her  my  goodbye  and  respects."  I  joined  her  at 
once,  but  of  course  we  heard  nothino;  in  the  room 
itself.  Such  is  the  circumstance  as  it  took  place. 
Mr.  Reid,  who  knew  nothing  of  the  habit  of  D.  G.  R., 
hearing  the  voice  as  well  as  we  did,  although  it 
sounded  to  him  like  talking  rather  than  reading, 
was  a  sure  evidence  we  were  not  deceiving  our- 
selves. Next  night  it  was  the  same,  and  so  it  went 
on  till  I  left.  When  we  tried  to  approach  it  was 
not  audible,  or  when  the  doors  of  the  drawing-room 
and  its  small  ante-room  communicating  with  the 
staircase  were  left  open,  we  could  make  nothing  of 
it.  It  gradually  tapered  off  when  Miss  Boyd  was 
left  by  herself;  by  and  by  the  whole  establishment 
was  bolted  and  barred  for  the  winter.  Next  season 
it  had  entirely  ceased. 

I  may  now  return  to  my  own  affairs.  My 
eighteen  pictures  from  the  ballad  of  Chevy  Chase 
had  been  finished  and  placed  in  the  beginning  of 
1870.  Previous  to  this  the  long  series  of  windows 
for  the  Keramic  gallery,  South  Kensington  Museum, 
done  \xi  graffito  as  I  called  it,  were  nearly  complete. 
I  determined  on  settling  into  a  house  of  my  own. 


When  we  turn  into  the  sixties,  the  battle  of  Hfe 
ought  to  be  a  Httle  relaxed  in  its  severity  :  some 
indulgence  in  matters  of  taste  may  be  allowed.  A 
lovely  old  house  close  to  the  Chelsea  end  of  the 
picturesque  old  wooden  bridge  to  Battersea,  a  house 
built  by  the  Adamses,  with  a  garden  buttressed  up 
from  the  river,  and  a  studio  behind  to  be  easily 
made  out  of  a  music-room,  in  which  its  first  owner 
indulged  himself  and  in  which  Handel's  organ  had 
stood  in  these  former  years.  Early  in  1870  I 
arranged  the  purchase  to  be  completed  in  November, 
the  requisite  money  being  at  the  time  invested  in 
Berlin  Water  Work  shares  and  Egyptian  Bonds, 
going  down  shortly  after  in  a  confident  frame  of 
mind  to  our  usual  summer  months  at  Penkill.  A 
few  weeks  later  we  were  driving  through  the  town 
of  Girvan  to  the  coast,  to  enjoy  a  picnic  by  the 
multitudinous  sea.  What  was  it  bringing  people 
on  the  street  and  making  the  newspaper  shops  so 
attractive  ?  Suddenly  as  an  earthquake  or  a  West 
Indian  tornado,  a  European  war  had  been  declared 
— the  French  army  was  moving  towards  the  Rhine  ! 
The  invincible  army  of  Austerlitz,  with  a  Bonaparte 
— happily  a  degenerate  one — at  its  head.  An  army 
of  200,000  without  a  button  wanting  on  a  gaiter ! 
In  one  of  his  letters  from  Jerusalem,  already  given 
in  a  previous  chapter,  Holman  Hunt  spoke  of  this 
war  as  then  likely  to  sweep  away  the  Christians 
from  that  city.  This  letter  was  dated  the  loth  of 
August,  but  here  the  crisis  was  over  by  that  time. 
A    few    weeks    later    Hunt  had    actually   to  fortify 


himself  in  his  large  house,  pro\"isioned  for  a  siege, 
but  here  the  death-grapple  of  Germany  and  France, 
the  mastiff  and  the  wolf,  was  already  loosening ; 
the  throat  of  the  more  savage  beast  was  already 
giving  way  under  the  irrevocable  teeth  of  the 
nobler  animal.  But  for  a  moment  in  the  east  a 
new  complication  seemed  to  threaten  the  world. 
Russia  made  a  move  as  if  to  take  advantage  of  the 
moment.  It  was  this  that  had  alarmed  Jerusalem, 
and  for  another  hour  and  day  my  position  was  an 
awkward  one.  At  first  my  Berlin  Water  Work 
shares  went  down,  down  to  zero:  anon  M'Mahon's 
carriages  filled  with  ladies'  attire  were  flying  — 
the  French  Cavalry  were  worth  nothing.  The 
shares  went  up  again  day  after  day,  till  they  were 
at  their  former  premium.  Russia  quieted  down  too, 
and  the  Egyptian  Bonds  threatening  to  be  unsaleable 
were  higher  than  before.  The  Gallic  cock  ceased 
to  crow  :  every  mail  brought  greater  and  greater 
tidings  of  the  total  discomfiture  of  France. 

These  monetary  interests  no  doubt  intensified 
one's  greater  interest  in  this  most  rapid,  most  decisive, 
and  most  important  war.  The  concealed  anxiety 
of  the  papal  party,  and  of  all  retrograde  thinkers, 
increased  the  importance  of  every  day's  news.  But 
without  these  helps  the  tremendous  ability  of  Prussia, 
and  the  overwhelming  punishment  of  the  Beau- 
harnais,  as  Swinburne  used  to  call  Louis  Napoleon, 
made  that  autumn  the  most  exciting  in  my  life. 
Strange  to  say,  the  majority  of  Englishmen  were  in 
favour  of  France,  although  the  ultimate  triumph  of 


Italian  unity  was  involved,  and  the  suppression  of 
papal  encroachment,  besides  the  rabid  tendency  of 
France  to  indulge  in  conquest  if  it  had  been  success- 
ful. The  vast  mediocrity,  literary  or  other,  went  in 
for  France.  An  instance  of  this  was  afforded  by 
Appleton,  the  editor  and  proprietor  of  the  Academy, 
in  which  publication  the  Fine  Art  section  was  under 
my  care  at  the  time.  The  editor,  who  had  some 
pretence  to  learning  and  philosophy,  sent  round  a 
circular  to  his  collaborateurs  proposing  that  every 
one  of  us  should  sacrifice  our  pay  for  a  certain 
period,  allowing  it  to  be  sent  over  as  a  contribution 
to  the  war  expenses  of  France.  I  gave  him  a  bit  of 
advice,  my  readers  may  be  sure !  Our  own  battles 
of  life  affect  our  sleep  and  our  health,  but  this 
Franco-German  war  was  exhilarating  only.  Living 
quietly  at  Penkill,  I  used  to  waylay  the  postman, 
take  the  daily  morning  paper  into  the  garden,  and 
in  the  summer-house  read  every  word  of  the  news. 
On  the  way  I  passed  an  immense  Foxglove  just 
beginning  to  bear  its  lowest  bloom  when  the  struggle 
began.  Before  its  last  blossom  was  shed  the  crown- 
ing destruction  of  the  French  army  at  Sedan  was 
over.  I  afterwards  commemorated  this  in  two  little 
poems,  which  I  should  like  to  reprint  here  in 
connection  with  the  rest  of  my  story. 





That  foxglove  by  the  garden  gate 
The  very  day  the  war  began 
Opened  its  first,  its  lowest  flower : 

The  post  that  day  was  late, 
Anxious  I  waited  for  the  man 
Then  went  into  the  wild-rose  bower 
And  heard  the  warning  voice  of  fate. 

Week  by  week,  even  day  by  day, 
Another  petal  opened  fair, 
Advancing  up  the  long  light  stem  : 

I  counted  them 

As  I  passed  there. 
While  my  heart  was  far  away. 
Listening  early,  listening  late, 
To  the  German  march — the  march  of  Fate. 

And  when  France  lay 
Quivering  in  the  gory  clay, 

The  topmost  bell 
Rang  a  dirge  before  it  fell. 


Oft  throughout  that  deadly  fight 
We  owned  that  might  was  right. 
For  from  the  steps  of  the  Madeleine 
Amid  the  trumpets'  loud  fanfare. 
Years  long  ago  we  had  seen  there 
Louis,  triumphant  from  the  South, 
Hailed  by  the  brutal  popular  mouth  ; 
Along  the  streets  where  late  the  stain 
Of  blood  lay,  did  his  triumph  fare  ; 


I  heard  the  cheer ; 
While  many  said,  the  day  must  come, 
When  God  with  us,  right  shall  be  might  : 
Behold  !  with  cannon,  trump  and  drum. 

Now  was  it  here  ! 

The  span  of  time 
A  foxglove  bloom  its  stalks  might  climb. 
He  passed  for  ever  from  our  sight. 

When  I  got  back  to  London  and  became  an 
inhabitant  of  Chelsea,  with  the  wide  river  flow- 
ing before  the  windows,  I  congratulated  myself  on 
having  ably  overcome  one  of  the  greatest  evils  of 
life — the  necessity  of  periodical  house-hunting  and 
migration.  The  hermit  crab  had  found  a  permanent 
shell,  a  better  one  than  if  he  had  grown  it.  Here 
was  a  room  for  my  books,  or  two  of  them,  and  a 
room  for  my  prints  —  the  dear  early  Germans  and 
Italians  that  had  cost  me  so  much  trouble  and 
money  to  collect,  and  that  had  been  the  exciting 
cause  of  my  writing  the  books  on  Albert  Dtirer  and 
the  Little  German  Masters.  I  felt  as  if  I  too,  as 
well  as  Marshal  Moltke,  was  having  a  triumph,  and 
I  celebrated  it  in  a  sonnet,  not  for  publication,  but 
as  it  is  in  a  way  autobiographical,  it  may  be  added 


November  1870. 

Here,  then,  I  am,  to  find  my  latest  stage  : 
A  good  old  home  with  elbow-room,  I  wis  : 
As  if  dame  Fortune  dealt  her  blindfold  kiss 

To  one  who  had  so  often  lost  his  wage, 

124  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOT!  chap. 

A  ruminant  wandering  creature,  until  Age 

Touched  him  upon  the  shoulder,  and  said,  "  So ! 
Here  we  are,  confrere,  walking  rather  slow  : 

Strange  your  light  barque  should  find  such  harbourage  !  " 

But  sooth  to  say,  two  diligent  nimble  hands 

Oft  save  wool-gathering  brains  from  bankruptcy. 

For  if  we  daily  till  the  common  lands 

That  yield  plain  food,  work  out  the  tasks  that  lie 

About  us,  serving  thus  the  general  hive, 

The  fates  will  let  even  a  Poet  thrive. 

Yet,  pleasant  as  it  was  to  have  found  di  point  d'appui 
in  life,  at  this  very  moment  came  a  circumstance  to 
make  me  contemplate  returning  altogether  to  Edin- 
burgh. This  was  a  chair  of  the  Fine  Arts  being 
established  in  Edinburgh.  The  number  of  men 
combining  hterary  and  artistic  powers  of  any  value 
were  so  few  that  I  was  advised  to  offer  myself  for  it. 
The  only  other  man  who  had  any  equal  chance 
was,  it  appeared  to  me,  P.  G.  Hamerton,  the  clever 
etcher  and  writer  on  etching,  who  had,  however, 
given  up  his  chance  of  ever  becoming  a  painter.  I 
got  into  communication  with  the  Senatus  and  their 
head,  Sir  A.  Grant.  I  quickly  came  to  the  con- 
clusion there  w^as  some  bar  in  the  way,  and  retired. 

In  the  course  of  my  short  correspondence  with 
Mr.  Hamerton,  I  received  a  letter  which  may  be 
worth  preserving  here. 

Pre  Charmoy,  Autun,  Saone  et  Loire, 
iWiJuly  1871. 

My  dear  Scott — During  the  war  the  postal  service 
was  so  irregular,  and  even  unsafe,  that  I  thought  it  better 

p.    G.    HAMERTON 

to  keep  your  prints  ^  along  with  my  own  papers.  I  send 
them  under  a  separate  cover. 

I  am  glad  you  have  got  a  house  to  your  liking  at 
Chelsea.  I  remember  houses  there  that  seemed  to  me 
charming.  You  will  have  pleasant  society  within  easy 
reach,  which  I  rather  envy  you.  In  country  places  like 
this  in  France,  although  there  are  a  few  educated  men, 
they  are  always  divided  by  social  or  political  demarca- 
tions. I  had  some  thought  of  trying  to  found  a  club 
here.  We  have  men  enough,  but  their  divisions  render 
such  a  project  Utopian, 

I  am  practising  just  now,  with  great  pleasure,  my  new 
positive  process  in  etching,  of  which  I  sent  an  account  to 
the  Portfolio.  I  work  out  of  doors,  and  see  every  stroke 
in  black  on  a  zi'hite  ground,  just  when  I  do  it,  which  avoids 
much  of  the  deception  in  the  old  half-blind  process.  As 
the  plate  is  in  the  acid  all  the  time  I  have  to  mind  to 
etch  the  blackest  places  first,  and  go  by  a  careful  cal- 
culated gradation  to  the  palest ;  but  I  find  that  this  sort 
of  analysis  becomes  easy  enough  by  practice.  When  the 
drawing  with  the  etching-point  is  done,  the  plate  is  ready 
for  printing,  avoiding  all  the  old  bother  of  stopping-out. 
The  new  process  is  so  agreeable  that  I  could  not  go  back 
to  the  old  one  now  ;  besides,  there  is  a  great  economy  of 

During  the  war  I  saw  a  battle  from  my  study  window, 
about  5000  men  engaged  on  each  side.  I  had  a  good 
telescope,  and  saw  the  men  plainly  enough.  The  cannon- 
ade went  on  from  2  P.M.  till  nightfall,  and  afterwards 
began  again  in  the  moonlight.  We  should  have  had  the 
Prussians  at  our  house  most  probably,  if  we  had  not  been 
protected  by  a  stream  which  was  rather  swollen,  so  they 
thought   they  could  not  cross  it  without   leaving  some  of 

1  What  the  prints  were  that  P.  G.  H.  mentions  in  his  letter  I 
cannot  now  remember.  My  Collection,  after  having  been  very  useful, 
ceased  to  retain  their  interest,  and  I  sold  them  to  a  gentleman  who 
promised  to  keep  them  together,  but  who  last  year  brought  them  to 
the  hammer  at  Sotheby's,  July  18S5.  They  brought /^i  260.  I  insert 
this  note,  September  1886. 

126  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap,  viii 

their  artillery  in  the  mud.  W'e  were  considerably  anxious 
of  course,  but  next  day  the  Prussians  retired.  The  only 
evil  that  has  occurred  to  me  during  the  war  was  a  fort- 
night's illness  brought  on  by  an  imprudence.  On  a  very 
cold  day  in  winter,  acting  as  guide  to  a  lot  of  Garibaldian 
cavalry,  I  had  to  lead  them  through  a  flooded  river.  I 
had  the  icy  water  up  to  my  saddle-seat,  and  rode  after- 
wards for  several  hours  in  wet  clothes.  The  mortality  in 
the  (French)  army  here  was  terrible  during  the  severity  of 
the  winter — I  remain,  yours  very  truly, 

P.  G.  H. 



When   D.  G.   Rossetti   left   us  at    Penkill,  and   re- 
covered his  buried  MS.  volume,   he  at  once  aban- 
doned the  Privately  Printed  volume  he  had  already 
printed,  which  only  exists  since  in  two  or  at  most 
three    copies.       The    only    really    important    poem 
recovered,  except  such  as  he  had  remembered,  was 
"  Jenny,"  which  had   its   origin   contemporaneously 
with  the  design  for  the  promised  etching  to  illustrate 
my  poem  first  called  "  Rosabell,"    The  two  works  had 
their  origin  together,  when   he  visited   me  first   in 
Newcastle,  when  I  was  in  the  act  of  arranging  my 
first   miscellaneous    little   volume    sometimes    called 
Poems  by  a  Painter.      However  suggested,   it  was 
years  on  the  anvil,  and  at  last  had  a  daring  circum- 
stance   included    in    its    story,   which    some    friends 
tried   in   vain   to  get  altered.     "Jenny"    bears  the 
evidence  of  its  derivation  by  being  the  only  poem 
D.  G.  R.  wrote  on  the  morals  or  the  period  of  our 
own  day,  and  is  really,  notwithstanding  its  confes- 

128  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

sional  character,  one  of  the  ablest  of  all  his  poems, 
even  to  the  end  of  his  life.  The  others,^  such  as 
"  Dante  at  Verona,"  "  A  Last  Confession,"  are  com- 
paratively boyish  and  worthless,  except,  indeed, 
"Sister  Helen,"  which  he  held  in  memory  and 
afterwards  improved.      However,  he  included  all. 

On  the  very  successful  reception  of  the  volume 
by  the  public,  his  hypochondria  about  his  eyes  disap- 
peared, along  with  the  nervous  fear  about  publishing. 
Still,  however,  he  to  the  last  moment  would  work 
the  oracle,  and  get  all  his  friends  to  prepare  laudatory 
critical  articles  to  fill  all  the  leading  journals.'  Against 
this  he  would  take  no  advice.  His  brother  especially 
offered  him  the  wisest  and  kindest  counsel.  "  I  often 
sadly  reflect,"  as  he  said  afterwards,  "that  I  used  to 
urge  Gabriel  not  to  go  diplomatising  (as  I  got  to 
call  it)  to  have  his  book  reviewed  in  various  papers 
by  friends  and  henchmen,  and  that  if  he  had  taken 
this  advice  the  soreness  of  outsiders  would  have 
been  avoided."  How  much  reason  had  we  all  to 
wish  he  had  denied  himself  "  the  jubilant  proclama- 
tion of  the  merits  of  his  poems."  And  yet  who  can 
say  ?      No    one    could    predict    the    effect    adverse 

1  [Mr.  Scott  is  speaking  here  of  the  poems  recovered  from  ]\Irs. 
Rossetti's  grave,  and  not  contained  in  the  privately  printed  volume, 
but  included  in  the  printed  and  published  volume  which  was  issued 
in  1870.— Ed.] 

-  [A  reader  who  should  come  upon  this  passage  without  knowing 
the  strength  and  constancy  of  the  autobiographer's  friendship  for 
Rossetti  and  admiration  of  his  powers,  might  suspect  him  here  of 
ill-naturedly  disparaging  his  friend.  This  would  be  entirely  to  mis- 
take the  spirit  of  the  record,  which  is  intended  only  to  illustrate  that 
morbid  fear  of  criticism  which  was  so  paradoxical  and  so  disastrous 
an  element  in  Rossetti's  character. — Ed.] 

D.    G.   ROSSETTI  129 

criticism  had  upon  him  when  it  came  ;  it  was  the 
morbid  feehng  in  his  own  mind  that  made  him  work 
heaven  and  earth  to  render  it  impossible,  as  he 
thought,  that  such  should  reach  him  ;  and  the  very 
first,  I  should  say  the  only,  powerful  attack  upon  his 
book  knocked  him  over  like  the  blow  of  the  butcher's 
axe  on  the  forehead  of  the  ox.  He  had  felt  that  such 
would  be  the  effect  of  severe  strictures,  and  feared 
them,  else  why  the  reluctance  to  publish,  the  desire 
to  issue  his  privately  printed  volume  when  we  had 
prevailed  upon  him  to  take  up  poetry  again,  and 
why  the  disagreeable  expenditure  of  energy  in  work- 
ing the  oracle,  to  furnish  all  the  ordinary  channels 
of  criticism  with  articles  ready  made  under  his  own 
eye  ?  The  question  is  exactly  similar  to  that  of  the 
habit  and  effect  of  the  chloral  he  took,  I  had 
known  him  too  lonof  to  believe  it  had  much  to  do 
with  either  the  mental  or  bodily  peculiarities  from 
which  he  latterly  suffered.  I  asked  Professor 
Marshall,  his  medical  adviser,  and  his  answer  was 
that  the  chloral  was  merely  a  desperate  attempt  to 
cure  his  evils,  not  the  cause  of  them.  As  to  the 
article  that  troubled  him  so  deeply,  perhaps  his 
anxiety  to  forestall  criticism  brought  it  upon  him. 
The  critic  is  the  natural  enemy  of  the  poet,  Gautier 
has  said  in  a  way  sufficiently  amusing  though  un- 
quotable here,  and  critics  who  are  themselves 
"  literary  poets  "  are  the  worst  disposed  of  all. 

Meantime,  however,  he  was  in  excellent  spirits, 
and  an  almost  daily  correspondence  began  to  pass 
between  us.      I  have  none  of  my  own  letters,  and 

VOL.   II  K 

I30  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

never  had  the  habit  of  copying  them,  but  all  his  are 
with  me  still  and  deserve  to  be  carefully  printed, 
showing  as  they  do  the  careful  reconsideration  he 
gave  his  poems. 

Morris  had  at  that  time  lighted  upon  a  lovely 
ancient  manor  house,  not  the  house  of  seven  gables, 
but  often,  to  be  let  near  Lechlade.  It  was  a  house 
lying  low,  and  sometimes  surrounded  by  floods  :  the 
rooms,  many  and  irregular  ;  the  kitchens  and  sitting- 
rooms  on  the  entrance  floor,  being  lower  than  the 
ground  outside,  were  not  always  safe  from  the 
inundation.  Among  the  larger  apartments  above 
(the  house  properly  speaking)  was  one  hung  with 
tapestry,  the  later  tapestry  with  life-sized  figures  in 
Roman  costume.  This  Rossetti,  who  joined  for  a 
time  with  Morris  in  renting  the  house,  tried  to  make 
a  studio,  but  found  the  draughts  unbearable,  the 
hanging  waving  about  on  all  sides,  making  the 
room  like  a  house  attacked  by  vertigo.  The  first  of 
the  following  letters  was  written  shortly  after  he 
went  thither,  to  me,  then  living  at  Penkill,  a  dwelling 
as  thoroughly  Scottish  as  Kelmscott  was  English, 
only  of  a  century  later. 

D.  G.  R.  to  W.  B.  S.  (I.) 

The  Manor  House,  Kelmscott, 
Lechlade,  ijihjuly  1S71. 

Dear  Scotus — You  see  I  write  to  you  among  sur- 
roundings new  to  me,  but  of  such  an  old  fashion  in  them- 
selves that  it  is  easy  to  identify  one's  own  sense  of  use 
and  habit  with  them,  and  to  believe  one  has  always  known 
them.      This  is    a  wonderful  old   place  which  you    must 

IX  D.    G.    R:S  letters  from  KELMSCOTT         131 

some  day  see,  and  of  which  I  must  get  photos  taken  when 
I  can,  but  photography  is,  I  should  think,  unknown  as 
yet  in  Kelmscott.  The  house  and  garden,  with  all  their 
riverside  fields  and  sleepy  farm -buildings,  make  up  a 
delicious  picture  to  the  eye  and  mind,  and  afford  so  much 
home  variety  that  there  is  no  need  of  seeking  farther. 
When  one  does  so,  however,  one  is  bound  to  confess  that 
the  country  roads  possess  little  interest,  being  so  extremely 
flat  that  they  may  almost  be  said  to  present  no  objects  at 
all  ;  and  the  solitude  is  as  absolute  as  at  Penkill,  but  not 
nearly  so  impressive  in  its  natural  features.  I  am  writing 
in  my  delightful  sitting-room  or  studio,  the  walls  of  which 
are  hung  with  tapestries  which  I  suppose  have  been  here 
since  the  house  was  built  (by  the  same  family  who  have 
only  just  left  it).  The  subject  of  the  tapestries  is  the 
history  of  Samson,  which  is  carried  through  with  that  un- 
compromising uncomfortableness  peculiar  to  this  class  of 
art  manufacture.  Indeed,  I  have  come  to  the  conclusion 
that  a  tapestried  room  should  always  be  much  dimmer 
than  this  one.  These  things  constantly  obtruded  on  one 
in  a  bright  light  become  a  persecution.  However,  it  won't 
do  to  take  them  down,  as  they  might  get  moth-eaten,  and 
heaven  knows  what  their  value  may  not  be  in  the  eyes 
of  their  owners.  We  have  got  plenty  of  things  into  the 
house,  and  even  a  moderate  amount  of  order  by  this  time — 
Janey  [Mrs.  W.  Morris]  has  been  taking  five  and  six  mile 
walks  without  the  least  difficulty,  and  her  children  are  the 
most  darling  little  self-amusing  machines  that  ever  existed. 
The  nearest  town  to  this  is  Lechlade,  some  three  miles 
off,  a  beautiful  old  place  and  not  a  station.  I  expect  to 
be  here  for  two  months  at  least,  though  I  may  perhaps  run 
back  to  London  midway  for  a  day  or  so  to  see  what  is 
doing  in  my  studio,  where  a  radical  cure  is  to  be  effected 
in  the  light  during  my  absence  under  Webb's  directions, 
after  which  I  shall  have  as  good  a  studio  as  any  one,  I 
hope.  I  shall  make  a  replica  I  have  to  do  while  here, 
and  make  some  drawings  besides,  I  hope.  Whether 
writing  will  come  of  it  I  cannot  yet  tell.      The  weather  is 


warm  and  genial  at  last  here,  and  the  same  I  hope  with 
you.  Have  you  really  got  Miss  Losh  at  Penkill  ?  Will 
you  give  my  love  to  her  (if  there),  as  well  as  to  Miss 
Boyd  ;  and  tell  me  whatever  is  to  tell  between  one  "  haunt 
of  ancient  peace  "  and  another.  We  have  fallen  back  on 
Shakspeare  here  as  at  Penkill  in  the  evenings,  and  are 
"  doing "  him  religiously,  sometimes  indoors  and  some- 
times out.  A  pretty  fair  supply  of  books  has  been  got 
into  the  place,  and  the  children,  who  are  indefatigable 
readers,  read  about  a  volume  of  the  Waverley  Novels  a 
day.  Little  May,  the  youngest,  seems  lovelier  every  day. 
I  shall  make  drawings  of  both  while  I  stay  here — Allan 
and  Emma  [husband  and  wife,  servants  from  London 
house]  have  come  down  with  me  ;  and  we  have  besides 
the  children's  nurse  and  two  native  retainers.  The  garden 
is  full  of  fat  cut  hedges  that  seem  to  purr  and  simmer  in 
the  sun,  as  do  the  farm  buildings  also  on  all  sides.  We 
shall  have  erelong  to  keep  a  trap  of  some  sort  as  well  as 
a  cow  and  pig.  Does  Miss  Boyd,  I  wonder,  know  any- 
where of  a  highly  desirable  i\yrshire  cow  to  be  had  ?  I 
am  told  that  race  is  in  demand,  but  the  only  question  is 
whether  the  carriage  would  very  vastly  add  to  the  expense. 
Otherwise  the  advantages  of  friendly  selection  out  there, 
and  security  against  cheating,  would  be  good  gains. — Do 
write  to  your  affectionate  D.  Gabriel  R. 

P.S. — I  suppose  you  know  that  mamma  and  Christina 
are  at  Hampstead. 

In  this  first  letter  there  seems  nothing  calHng  for 
any  notice.  The  cov^  question  opened  up  corre- 
spondence, which  does  not  demand  record  here, 
although  it  filled  many  pages  till  it  was  found  im- 

D.  G.  R.  to  W.  B.  S.  (II.) 

Kelmscott,  Lechlade, 


Dearest  Scotus — Your  letter  was  very  welcome, 
but  did  not  reach  me  till  to-day.      However,  let  me  go  in 

IX  D.    G.    R:S  letters  from  KELMSCOTT  133 

at  once  for  another,  which  I  hope  will  not  be  so  long  on 
the  way. 

I  send  you  a  little  ballad  or  song  or  something  made 
in  a  punt  on  the  river — not  a  very  poetic  style  of  locomo- 
tion. It's  rather  out  of  my  usual  way,  rude  aiming  at  the 
sort  of  popular  view  that  Tennyson  perhaps  alone  succeeds 
in  taking.  Not  (I  hope)  that  it's  at  all  chargeable  with 
imitation  of  Tennyson,  but  I  mean  that  nobody  but  he 
tries  to  get  within  hail  of  general  readers.  But  I  fear, 
however  much  I  might  like  to  do  so,  that  it's  not  my 
vocation  except  in  such  a  trifle  as  this  once  in  a  way ; 
and  I  daresay  this  would  be  voted  obscure.  I  fancy  it 
ought  to  be  suited  for  music. 

I  have  discovered  some  nice  riverside  walks  now  the 
floods  have  subsided,  and  there  is  a  funny  little  island 
midway  in  one  walk,  which  can  be  reached  by  a  crazy 
bridge,  and  does  very  well  as  a  half-way  house  to  commit 
sonnets  to  paper  going  and  coming.  It  may  perhaps  lead 
to  further  effusions.  I  got  one  sonnet  out  of  it  to-day. 
I  daresay  I  shall  get  a  fair  stroke  of  painting  w^ork  done 
here,  as  I  have  had  all  my  things  sent  down  together, 
with  that  picture  of  "  Beatrice  "  to  make  a  replica,  and 
am  also  at  work  on  a  drawing  for  a  small  picture  I  mean 
to  paint  here  to  fit  a  beautiful  old  frame  I  have. 

I  also  mean  to  make  drawings  of  the  children.  The 
younger,  Mary,  is  quite  a  beauty  the  more  one  knows  her, 
and  will  be  a  lovely  woman.  She  is  very  clever  too,  I 
think,  and  has  a  real  turn  for  drawing  when  she  gets  a 
little  less  lazy.  The  older  one  buries  herself  in  books, 
but  is  not  so  observant  as  the  younger. 

I  got  the  Academy  to-day,  with  an  article  on  a  German 
Diirerite,  which  smacks  of  the  rival  adept,  though  not 
unfair  certainly.  I  shall  want  to  see  your  article  in 
Frasei',  and  must  get  the  Portfolio,  which  I  suppose  is  out 
now,  containing  that  on  Blake.  I  am  extremely  sorry  to 
hear  of  Wallis's  attack  with  his  eyes,  but  seeing  how 
completely  he  got  over  the  first,  I  cannot  suppose  these 
attacks  to  be  really  dangerous  in  the  worst  sense.      It  is 

134  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

almost  a  pity  he  did  not  go  with  Top  to  Iceland.  No 
news  of  the  latter  yet,  though  expected  before  this.  I 
had  a  letter  from  Stillman,  very  loud  of  course  in  pro- 
claiming his  wife's  enchantment  with  America  and  all 
American  people  and  things.  They  are  coming  back,  he 
says,  this  month  by  sailing-ship.  I  suppose  you  heard  of 
their  dreadful  passage  out. 

I'm  afraid  I  shan't  do  much  poetry  here,  as  my  walks 
are  seldom  taken  alone,  Janey  having  developed  a  most 
triumphant  pedestrian  faculty  ;  licks  you  hollow,  I  can 
tell  you.  We  are  doing  a  good  deal  in  papering  and 
painting  here,  as  well  as  other  repairs.  So  time  does  not 
run  to  seed. 

If  I  were  at  Penkill  I  know,  as  you  say,  that  I  should 
do  something  decided  in  poetry — to  wit,  "  The  Orchard 
Pits "  poem,  which  I  much  want  to  do  ;  but  I  find  it 
almost  impossible  to  write  narrative  poetry  in  scenery 
that  does  not  help  it,  and  so  have  little  chance  of  setting 
to  that  here. 

I  was  sorry  to  hear  that  you  had  not  Miss  Losh  with 
you,  and  hope  her  health  is  not  the  cause  of  her  being 
unable  to  join  you. 

How  intensely  stupid  it  was  of  me  when  I  wrote 
before  to  forget  that  Letitia  was  with  you  now.  I  can 
only  account  for  it  by  the  fact  that  I  was  never  at  Penkill 
while  she  was  there.  Janey's  love  to  her,  and  mine  to 
all. — Ever  your  affectionate  D.  G.  R. 


Between  Holmscote  and  Hurstcote 

The  river-reaches  wind, 
The  whispering  trees  accept  the  breeze. 

The  ripple  's  cool  and  kind  : 
With  love  low-whispered  'twixt  the  shores, 

With  rippling  laughters  gay, 
With  white  arms  bared  to  ply  the  oars, 

On  last  vear's  first  of  Mav. 

IX         D.  G.  r:s  letters  from  KELMSCOTT       135 

Between  Holmscote  and  Hurstcote 

The  river  's  brimmed  with  rain, 
Through  close-met  banks  and  parted  banks, 

Now  near,  now  far  again  : 
With  parting  tears  caressed  to  smiles. 

With  meeting  promised  soon, 
With  every  sweet  vow  that  beguiles, 

On  last  year's  first  of  June. 

Between  Holmscote  and  Hurstcote 

The  river  's  flecked  with  foam, 
'Neath  shuddering  clouds  that  hang  in  shrouds 

And  lost  winds  wild  for  home : 
With  infant  wailings  at  the  breast. 

With  homeless  steps  astray, 
With  wanderings  shuddering  tow'rds  one  rest, 

On  this  year's  first  of  May. 

Between  Holmscote  and  Hurstcote 

The  summer  river  flows 
With  doubled  flight  of  moons  by  night, 

And  lilies'  deep  repose  : 
With  lo  !  beneath  the  moon's  white  stare 

A  white  face  not  the  moon, 
With  lilies  meshed  in  tangled  hair 

On  this  year's  first  of  June. 

Between  Holmscote  and  Hurstcote 

A  troth  was  given  and  riven  ; 
From  heart's  trust  grew  one  life  to  two. 

Two  lost  lives  cry  to  Heaven  : 
With  banks  spread  calm  beneath  the  sky. 

With  meadows  newly  mowed, 
The  harvest  paths  of  glad  July, 

The  sweet  school-children's  road. 

KeLMSCOTT, ////>'  I  87 1. 

The  poem  here  given,  "  Between  Holmscote  and 
Hurstcote,"  or  "  The  River's   Record,"  I  now  forget 

136  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

what  I  said  of.      It  was  not  in  D.  G.  R.'s  way,  as  he 
says,  but  still  has  its  good  qualities. 

D.  G.  R.  toW.  B.  S.  (III.) 

Kelmscott,  Lfxhlade, 
2nd  Align st  1871. 

Dear  Scotus — Your  verdict  on  my  popular  rhymes 
is  more  favourable  than  I  looked  for  ;  but  I  fear  I  have 
no  more  the  popular  element  than  yourself 

Did  I,  in  the  fourth  line  of  verse  one,  fail  to  put  apos- 
trophe in  "  ripples "  ?  I  don't  otherwise  see  why  you 
consider  the  line  "  isolated  "  in  character.  "  Cool  "  resulted 
from  experience,  while  writing  of  the  impression  produced. 
As  to  the  repetition  of  rippling,  this  seems  necessary,  as 
you  will  observe  that  two  epithets  are  interchanged  in 
each  stanza  between  the  landscape  and  the  emotion.  I've 
no  doubt  your  objection  to  the  title  is  vaHd,  though  I  sup- 
pose I  meant  A  record  of  the  river.  Would  "  May  and 
June  "  be  better  ?  So  I  called  it  at  first,  but  this  seemed 
hardly  incisive  enough.^ 

Your  sorrows  in  connection  with  that  infernal  word 
"  quaint "  recall  my  own.  Only  quite  lately  I  had  it  re- 
vived by  a  friendly  critic  on  my  work,  though  a  lapse  of 
years  had  occurred  since  I  last  heard  it  in  such  relation, 
and  I  had  hoped  it  and  I  had  parted  company.  However, 
it  will  be  "  in  at  the  death  "  with  both  of  us.  Good  God, 
I  cannot  see  the  faintest  trace  of  this  adjective  in  either 
of  your  etchings  which  you  mention,  nor  in  the  design  of 
your  mantelpiece  (the  carrying  out  I  have  not  seen)  in 
any  objectionable  sense,  though  I  suppose,  so  far  as  it 
differs  from  other  mantelpieces,  it  might  be  described  as 
peculiar,  if  that  is  one  meaning  of  the  hellish  "  quaint." 

By  the  bye,  on  this  point  I  have  always  meant,  and 
always  forgotten,  to  ask  you  if  you  noticed  an  astounding 
controversy  raised  in  Notes  and  Queries  about  a  wretched 
little  daub  of  mine  called  "  Greensleeves."      Bad  the  thing 

1  [The  title  finally  adopted  was  "  Down  Stream." — Ed.] 

IX  D.    G.   R.'S  LETTERS  FROM  KELMSCOTT         137 

is,  probably  enough  ;  but  how  it  should  suggest  to  any 
human  mind  the  maniacal  farrago  conjured  up  in  these 
letters  is  incomprehensible,  except  as  revealing  to  one  the 
degree  to  which  the  world  considers  oneself  insane.  On 
reading  them  my  brain  whirled,  and  I  sent  to  Agnew  for 
the  thing,  to  see  if  it  bore  any  internal  explanation  with 
it.  It  seemed  a  poor  daub  when  examined,  but  certainly 
innocent  of  the  special  enormities  charged  to  it.  However, 
once  having  laid  hands  on  it,  I  gave  it  a  good  daub- 
ing all  over,  and  transmogrified  it  so  completely  (title  and 
all)  as  to  separate  it  for  ever,  I  hope,  from  this  Bedlam  cor- 
respondence, which,  by  the  bye,  I  find  revived  this  week — 
to  end  God  knows  when  or  where ! 

I  hope  you  get  Notes  and  Queries  regularly,  as  by  my 
directions.      If  you  don't,  I'll  see  to  the  posting  myself 

And  now,  Scotus,  you  may  just  return  the  compliment 
by  posting  to  me  the  Frascr  and  Portfolio  with  your 
articles  (if  you  have  them  by  you),  as  otherwise  I  shall  go 
to  the  expense  for  them,  which  you  counsel  me  not  to 

I  am  getting  to  work  now,  both  on  the  replica  of 
"  Beatrice "  (Cowper  Temple's  picture,  which  I  borrowed 
and  have  here)  ;  on  a  small  picture  to  fit  a  beautiful  old 
frame  I  have,  and  to  which  I  mean  to  put  a  view  of  the 
winding  river  for  background  ;  and  on  the  drawings  of 
the  children. 

A  little  sonnet-writing  gets  done  too,  and  a  ballad — 
of  the  Sister  Helen  kind  rather — is  floating  paperwards 
on  a  slow  brain-breeze  enough.  I  wrote  an  Italian  song 
the  other  day  !  But  I  do  a  deal  of  making  up  in  my  head 
before  I  put  pen  to  paper. 

It  would  really  give  me  great  pleasure  to  see  that  dear 
old  barn  which  has  been  the  bounding  of  so  many  pleasant 
walks  and  talks  embodied  in  a  picture  of  yours,  and  I 
really  hope  you'll  do  it,  as  it  is  just  the  sort  of  material 
which  half  does  a  picture  to  one's  hand. 

Midway  with  this  letter,  Janey  shows  me  at  last  one 
from  Top,  who  writes   from   some   unpronounceable   place 

138  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

in  Iceland,  and  seems  to  have  had  much  pleasurable  ex- 
perience already,  though  nothing  much  to  report  at  second 
hand,  except  the  delightful  fact  that  a  packet  from  the 
co-operative  stores,  opened  eagerly  for  table  delicacies,  was 
found  to  contain  Floriline  and  violet  powder.  However, 
I  judge  it  was  the  only  one,  or  it  would  not  serve  Top  for 
an  epistolary  horse-laugh.  An  Iceland  paper  also  came,  in 
which  the  arrival  of  the  travellers  is  reported.  Top  being 
described  as  a  "  Skald."  He  ought  to  go  by  no  other 
name  for  the  future,  and  "  The  Bard "  be  reserved  for 

Browning's  poem,  Balaiistion^s  Adventure,  looks 
alarming  beforehand.  I  have  written  to  have  it  sent  me 
when  out,  which  will  not  be  till  the  8th.  I  see  what  it 
all  means  :  B.  has  been  inveighing  all  his  life  against 
translations  (when  I  sent  him  my  Italian  Poets,  I  re- 
member he  never  answered  at  all !),  and  now  having  by 
some  accident  slipped  a  translation  of  Alcestis,  he  had  to 
look  about  for  a  consistent  plan  for  putting  it  into  print, 
and  has  hit  on  this  alarming  scheme.  However,  no  doubt 
there  will  be  plenty  to  admire  and  enjoy.  Browning  seems 
likely  to  remain,  with  all  his  sins,  the  most  original  and 
varied  mind,  by  long  odds,  which  betakes  itself  to  poetry 
in  our  time. 

Brown  and  family,  with  Hiiffer  and  Miss  Blind,  are,  as 
perhaps  you  know,  at  Lj'nmouth,  where  Miss  B.  has  un- 
earthed an  old  woman  who  knew  Shelley  and  Harriet 
when  they  were  staying  there.  I  may  as  well  enclose  you 
a  letter  of  B.'s  giving  some  particulars  on  this  curious 
matter,  though  indeed  it  will  swell  this  epistle  to  a  most 
portentous  size.  By  the  bye,  you  might  send  me  your 
International  Report  if  you  have  it.  I  see  the  Academy 
Journal  is  a  very  dry  stick  this  time. 

What  you  tell  me  of  Allingham  is  no  worse  than  I  am 
myself,  so  I  mustn't  wonder.  I  cannot  sleep,  except  at 
the  back  of  my  house,  for  the  noise,  and  require  all  sorts 
of  usualnesses  all  round  me  to  make  life  possible.  Alas 
for  flying  years  !      One  wonders  if  one  was  always  so,  and 

IX  D.  G.  r:s  letters  from  KELMSCOTT        139 

is  reminded  how  far  one  is  looking  back  by  the  difficulty 
of  remembering. —  Ever  yours,  and  Miss  Boyd's  and 
Letitia's,  if  still  with  you,  affectionately, 

D.  G.  R. 

I  cannot  recollect  what  the  strange  writing  in 
Notes  and  Queries  that  troubled  him  so  was.  The 
Fraser  and  the  Po7'tfolio  he  wanted,  with  articles 
of  mine,  I  duly  sent  him,  I  think  he  mentions 
them  ao^ain.  The  International  I  also  sent  him. 
The  article  by  me  was  one  of  the  critical  articles 
published  as  separate  pamphlets,  written  by  various 
selected  people,  on  the  great  International  Ex- 
hibition that  year. 

At  the  end  of  the  letter  the  mention  of 
Allingham  was  called  forth  by  his  taking  the 
friendly  offer  of  my  house  at  Chelsea  while  my 
wife  and  I  were  in  the  North.  He  [A.]  could  not 
sleep  in  the  bedroom  he  occupied  ;  it  was  too  near 
the  street,  and  the  occasional  noise  of  passers-by 
was  too  much  noise  for  him.  This  brings  out  a 
similar  confession  from  D.  G.  R,  as  to  his  sleep- 
lessness. This,  written  in  August  187 1,  is  the 
earliest  allusion  to  the  sleeplessness,  etc.,  so  severely 
felt  by  him  after  his  return  to  town  and  severe 
illness  at  the  end  of  this  year. 

The  letter  about  Mrs.  Blackmore,  the  old 
woman  who  had  had  Shelley  and  Harriet  lodging 
in  her  house  (or  friend's  house)  at  Lynmouth, 
contains  nothing  of  any  importance  to  make  it 
worth  preservation.  Shelley  lived  a  long  time 
there,    and    as     in     every    place    where    accidental 

I40  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

record  is  found  of  his  having  stayed,  he  left  without 
paying  up,  so  there  still  remained  an  unpaid  balance. 
They  used  to  play  about  like  children,  Mrs.  Black- 
more  with  them.  .  .  .  After  reading  every  word 
in  Dowden's  immense  life,  I  believe  it  will  at  last 
be  found  that  his  dislike  to  Harriet  beean  when 
she  had  begun  to  treat  with  laughter  his  folly  in 
thinking  to  reform  the  world  with  his  paper-boats 
and  fire-balloons. 

D.  G.  R.  to  W.  B.  S.  (IV.) 


Let  no  man  ask  you  of  anything 
Not  yearborn  between  Spring  and  Spring. 
More  of  all  worlds  than  he  can  know 
Each  day  the  single  sun  doth  show  : 
A  trustier  gloss  than  you  can  give 
From  all  wise  scrolls  demonstrative, 
The  sea  doth  sigh  and  the  wind  sing. 

Let  no  lord  awe  you  on  any  height 
Of  earthly  kingship's  mouldering  might. 
The  dust  his  heel  holds  meet  for  your  brow 
Has  all  of  it  been  what  both  are  now  : 
And  he  and  you  may  plague  together 
A  beggar's  eyes  in  some  dusty  weather 
When  none  that  is  now  knows  sound  or  sight. 

Let  no  priest  tell  you  of  any  home 

Unseen  above  the  sky's  blue  dome. 

To  have  played  in  childhood  by  the  sea, 

Or  to  have  been  young  in  Italy, 

Or  anywhere  in  the  sun  or  rain  ; 

To  have  loved  and  been  beloved  again, 

Is  nearer  Heaven  than  he  can  come. 

D.    G.   R:S  letters  from  KELMSCOTT         141 


To-night  this  sunset  spreads  two  golden  wings 

Cleaving  the  western  sky  ; 
Winged  too  with  wind  it  is,  and  winnowings 
Of  birds  ;   as  if  the  day's  last  hour  in  rings 

Of  strenuous  flight  must  die. 

Sun-steeped  in  fire,  the  homeward  pinions  sway 

Above  the  dovecote-tops  ; 
And  clouds  of  starlings,  ere  they  rest  with  day, 
Sink,  clamorous  like  mill-waters  at  wild  play 

By  turns  in  every  copse  : 

Each  tree  heart-deep  the  wrangling  rout  receives, 

Save  for  the  whirr  within, 
You  could  not  tell  the  starlings  from  the  leaves  ; 
Then  one  great  puff  of  wings,  and  the  swarm  heaves 

Away  with  all  its  din — 

Even  thus  Hope's  hours,  in  ever-eddying  flight, 

To  many  a  refuge  tend  : 
With  the  first  light  she  laughed,  and  the  last  light 
Glows  round  her  still  ;  who  natheless  in  the  night 

At  length  must  make  an  end. 

And  now  the  mustering  rooks  innumerable 

Together  sail  and  soar, 
While  for  the  day's  death,  like  a  tolling  knell, 
Unto  the  heart  they  seem  to  cry  farewell, 

No  more,  farewell,  no  more  ! 

Is  Hope  not  plumed,  as  'twere  a  fiery  dart  ? 

Therefore,  O  dying  day. 
Even  as  thou  goest  must  she  too  depart. 
And  sorrow  fold  such  pinions  on  the  heart 

As  will  not  fly  away  ? 

142  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

These  two  poems  came  without  commentary. 
They  have  fine  things  in  them,  but  are  imperfect. 
He  says  in  another  letter  he  has  now  thirty  new 
sonnets  to  add  to  the  House  of  Life,  since  printing 
last  year,  I  had  just  published  a  Christmas  book 
on  Beloian  Art,  and  he  wishes  to  see  it.  He  sends 
"Through  Death  to  Love,"  "The  Lover's  Walk," 
"The  Dark  Glass,"  and  "  Heart's  Haven,"  also  the 
first  version  of  "  Cloud  Confines." 

D.  G.  R.  to  W.  B.  S.  (V.) 

Kelmscott,  \ith  Azigitst  '71. 

Dearest  Scotus — I  send  back  the  Fraser  and  the 
Kensington  papers.  The  first  contains  in  your  article  an 
exhaustive  summary,  sure  to  be  very  valuable  one  day,  of 
this  year's  art,  which,  owing  to  continental  events,  has 
assumed  in  England  a  very  unusual  aspect.  It  was  a 
much  better  plan  to  do  this  than  to  retrace  the  circle  of 
the  Academy  walls. 

Your  own  paper  among  the  Reports  is  of  course  solid 
good  work,  and  Pollen's  shows  signs  of  something  besides 
amateurishness.  The  others  that  I  have  looked  at  are 
mere  pretentious  vapouring,  such  as  in  England  floats 
uppermost  in  all  enterprises. 

I  have  sent  you  two  missives  within  the  last  day  or 
two — first,  a  poem  not  long  but  meant  to  deal  with 
important  matters,  and  second.  Browning's  new  book,  of 
an  extremely  irritating  structure — it  is  so  absolutely  every- 
thing that  Greek  ideas  are  not.  Still  there  is  much  good 
w^ork,  and  even  pure  simple  diction  in  the  translated  part, 
and  Browning  is  too  great  a  man  already  to  make  it 
matter  much  what  one  thinks  of  a  leisure  work  like  this. 

I  ordered  and  got  the  last  Portfolio  and  find  to  my 
vexation  that  Blake's  Flea,  etc.,  must  have  been  in  the 
July  one.      I  don't  know  whether  I  shall  try  again  now — 

IX  D.    G.   R:S  letters  from  KELM SCOTT         143 

it  is  so  provoking.  I  just  this  minute  ask  Emma  about 
N.  and  Q.  She  says  they  have  gone  to  you  regularly, 
the  only  one  in  the  house  now  being  to-day's.  This 
seems  strange.  It  would  really  be  worth  your  while  one 
day,  if  you  keep  iV.  and  Q.,  to  look  back  at  the  first 
of  these  Greensleeves  letters  ;  it  would  enlarge  your  ideas 
as  to  the  gaping  astonishment  and  perverse  misconstruc- 
tion of  which  we  were  writing  lately.  As  my  name  was 
in  the  heading,  I  wonder  it  did  not  catch  your  eye. 

I  send  you  another  little  poem  (done  from  nature) 
with  this,  and  may  perhaps  soon  muster  energy  to  copy  a 
few  sonnets,  only  they  seem  such  lackadaisical  things 
to  send  about.  I  have  now  thirty  new  ones  in  MS.  for 
the  House  of  Life  since  printing  last  year ;  I  suppose 
several  of  the  last  must  have  been  unseen  by  you.  I 
should  like  greatly  to  see  what  you  have  written  on  the 
Belgians.  Pray  send  it.  I  hope,  being  clear  of  it  now, 
you  will  at  any  rate  find  some  sonnets  lurking  in  you, 
and,  above  all,  collect  and  print  your  poetry  ere  long.  Do 
you  see  the  AtJiencemn  gossip,  about  my  intentions  this 
week  ?  Who  ever  conceives  and  then  condenses  such 
inventions  ?  I  saw  the  paragraph  about  my  father,  and 
had  heard  of  the  matter  before  at  home.  My  own  view 
was  quite  yours — viz,  that  it  ought  to  be  done  ;  but  I 
know  nothing  w^ould  induce  my  mother  to  consent. 
fThis  was  the  removal  of  his  father's  remains  to  Italy.] 

It  appears  from  something  I  see  written  by  Knight 
that  there  has  been  a  very  obtuse  review  of  Swinburne 
in  the  Edinburgh — done,  I  suppose,  by  the  same  puny 
Scotch  hand  which  scribbled  about  Morris  lately. 

I  am  quite  rejoiced  to  hear  of  Wallis's  improvement 
and  pedestrian  labours.  It  would  be  a  real  treat  to 
witness  his  first  enjoyment  of  the  beautiful  glen.  Pray 
give  him  my  love,  and  say  how  much  I  wish  (if  one  could 
be  in  two  places  at  once)  that  I  were  making  a  fourth 
stroller  in  the  shelter  of  the  glen  slopes  (hardly,  however, 
with  much  water-noise  in  one's  ears  now)  from  the  sudden 
heats  we  have  come  in  for. 

144  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

This  place  needs  no  Sunday  to  quiet  it,  so  that  I  only 
identify  the  day  by  the  trouble  of  having  to  send  to  the 
town  for  letters  and  papers.  I  am  getting  used  a  little 
now  to  the  tapestry,  though  still  the  questions,  Why  a 
Philistine  leader  should  have  a  panther's  tail,  or  Delilah  a 
spike  sticking  out  of  her  head,  or  what  Samson,  standing 
over  a  heap  of  slain,  has  done  with  the  ass's  jaw-bone, 
will  obtrude  themselves  at  times  between  more  abstract 
speculations.  I  have  nearly  finished  my  replica,  which  has 
gone  wonderfully  quick,  and  am  getting  on  with  the  little 
picture  with  river  background. 

I  suppose  if  Wallis  is  at  all  in  working  trim  he  will 
be  sure  to  have  an  easel  up  in  the  glen  before  long,  and 
you  will  not  be  behindhand  with  another,  I  should  say. 
Here  we  read  Shakspcare  and  Plutarch  just  as  the  first 
builders  of  the  house  might  have  done,  and  are  on  the 
whole  Elizabethan  enough.  By  the  bye,  there  is  one 
subject  in  Plutarch  not  done  by  Shakspeare  and  quite 
worthy  of  him — Pompey  the  Great,  Some  one  should  yet 
go  in  for  it  as  a  play. — With  love,  ever  yours,  D.  G.  R. 


Like  labour-laden  moon-clouds  faint  to  flee 

From  winds  that  sweep  the  winter-bitten  wold, — 
Like  multiform  circumfluence  manifold 

Of  night's  flood-tide, — like  terrors  that  agree 

Of  fire  dumb-tongued  and  inarticulate  sea, — 

Even  such,  within  some  glass  dimmed  by  our  breath, 
Our  hearts  discern  wild  images  of  Death, 

Shadows  and  shoals  that  edge  eternity. 

Howbeit  athwart  Death's  imminent  shade  doth  soar 
One  Power  than  flow  of  stream  or  flight  of  dove, 
Sweeter  to  glide  around,  to  brood  above. 
Tell  me,  my  heart, — what  angle-greeted  door 
Or  threshold  of  wing-winnowed  threshing-floor 

Hath  guest  fire-fledged  as  thine,  whose  lord  is  love  ? 

D.    G.   R:S  letters  from  KELMSCOTT         145 


Sweet  twining  hedge-flowers  wind-stirred  in  no  wise 
On  this  June  day  ;   and  hand  that  ch'ngs  in  hand  : — 
Still  glades  ;   and  meeting  faces  scarcely  fanned  : — 

An  osier-odoured  stream  that  draws  the  skies 

Deep  to  its  heart  ;   and  mirrored  eyes  in  eyes  : — 
Fresh  hourly  wonder  o'er  the  summer  land 
Of  light  and  cloud  ;  and  two  souls  softly  spanned 

With  one  o'erarching  heaven  of  smiles  and  sighs  : — 

Even  such  their  path,  whose  bodies  lean  unto 
Each  other's  visible  sweetness  amorousl}-, — 
W^hose  passionate  hearts  lean  by  Love's  high  decree 

Together  on  his  heart  for  ever  true, 

As  the  white-foaming  firmamental  blue 
Rests  on  the  blue  line  of  a  foamless  sea. 


Not  I  myself  know  all  my  love  for  thee  : 

How  should  I  reach  so  far,  who  cannot  weigh 
To-morrow's  dower  by  gage  of  yesterday  ? 

Shall  birth,  and  death,  and  all  dark  voids  that  be 

As  doors  and  windows  bared  to  some  loud  sea, 

Lash  deaf  mine  ears  and  blind  my  face  with  spray  ; 
And  shall  my  sense  pierce  love, — the  last  relay 

And  ultimate  outpost  of  eternity  ? 

Lo  !  what  am  I  to  Love,  the  Lord  of  all  ? 

One  murmuring  shell  he  gathers  from  the  sand, — 
One  little  heart-flame  sheltered  in  his  hand. 

Yet  through  thine  eyes  he  grants  me  clearest  call 

And  veriest  touch  of  powers  primordial 
That  any  hour-girt  life  may  understand. 

VOL.  II  L 



Sometimes  she  is  a  child  within  mine  arms, 

Cowering  beneath  dark  wings  that  love  must  chase  ; 

With  still  tears  showering  and  averted  face, 
Inexplicably  filled  with  faint  alarms  : 
And  oft  from  mine  own  spirit's  hurtling  harms 

I  crave  the  refuge  of  her  deep  embrace, — 

Against  all  ill  the  fortified  strong  place 
And  sweet  reserve  of  sovereign  counter-charms. 

And  Love,  our  light  at  night  and  shade  at  noon, 
Lulls  us  to  rest  with  songs,  and  turns  away 
All  shafts  of  shelterless,  tumultuous  day. 

Like  the  moon's  growth,  his  face  gleams  through  his  tune 

And  as  soft  waters  warble  to  the  moon. 

Our  answering  kisses  chime  one  roundelay. 


The  day  is  dark  and  the  night 

To  him  that  would  search  the  heart ; 
No  lips  of  cloud  that  will  part 
Nor  morning  song  in  the  light. 
Only,  gazing  alone. 
To  him  wild  shadows  are  shown. 
Deep  under  deep  unknown, 
And  height  above  unknown  height. 
Still  we  say  as  we  go, — 

"  Strange  to  think  by  the  way. 
Whatever  there  is  to  know. 

That  shall  we  know  one  day." 

The  Past  is  over  and  fled  ; 

Named  new,  we  name  it  the  old  ; 

Thereof  some  tale  hath  been  told. 
But  no  word  comes  from  the  dead  ; 

D.    G.    R:S  letters  from  K elm  SCOTT         147 

Whether  at  all  they  be, 
Or  whether  as  bond  or  free, 
Or  whether  they  too  were  we, 
Or  by  what  spell  they  have  sped. 
Still  we  say  as  we  ,go, — 

"  Strange  to  think  by  the  way, 
Whatever  there  is  to  know. 

That  shall  we  know  one  day." 

What  of  the  heart  of  hate 

That  beats  in  thy  breast,  O  Time  ? — 
Red  strife  from  the  furthest  prime 
And  anguish  of  fierce  debate  ; 
War  that  shatters  her  slain, 
And  peace  that  grinds  them  as  grain, 
And  eyes  fixed  ever  in  vain 
On  the  pitiless  eyes  of  Fate. 
Still  we  say  as  we  go, — 

"  Strange  to  think  by  the  way. 
Whatever  there  is  to  know, 

That  shall  we  know  one  day." 

What  of  the  heart  of  love 

That  bleeds  in  thy  breast,  O  man  ? — 
Thy  kisses  snatched  'neath  the  ban 
Of  fangs  that  mock  them  above  ; 
Thy  bells  prolonged  unto  knells. 
Thy  hope  that  a  breath  dispels, 
Thy  bitter,  forlorn  farewells. 
And  the  empty  echoes  thereof 
Still  we  say  as  we  go, — 

"  Strange  to  think  by  the  way. 
Whatever  there  is  to  know. 
That  shall  we  know  one  day." 

The  sky  leans  dumb  on  the  sea 

Aweary  with  all  its  wings  ; 

And  oh  !  the  song  the  sea  sings 
Is  dark  everlastingly. 

148  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

Our  past  is  clean  forgot, 
Our  present  is  and  is  not, 
Our  future's  a  sealed  seed-plot, 
And  what  betwixt  them  are  we  ? 
Atoms  that  nought  can  sever 

From  one  world-circling  will, — 
To  throb  at  its  heart  for  ever, 
Yet  never  to  know  it  still. 
c)tk  Aitgtist  1 87 1. 

I  must  have  been  long  in  answering,  for  his 
next  missive  is  nothing  but  this — 

There's  a  Scotch  correspondent  named  Scott 
Thinks  a  penny  for  postage  a  lot  ; 

Books,  verses,  and  letters 

Too  good  for  his  betters 
Cannot  screw  out  an  answer  from  Scott. 

To  this  I  answered — 

It  was  not  the  penny  or  groat 

That  stuck  in  the  Scotchman's  throat  ; 

But,  faith,  he  did  lack 

Nutcrackers  to  crack 
Verses  set  his  weak  jaw  on  the  rack. 

[It  would  appear  from  the  next  letter  in  the 
series  that  a  lonsf  letter  about  the  said  verses 
from  the  "  Scotch  correspondent "  was  on  its  way 
when  the  impatient  remonstrance  was  penned. — Ed.] 

D.  G.  R.  to  W.  B.  S.  (VI.) 

KeLMSCOTT,  2i)th  August  1 87 1. 

Dearest  W.  B. — I  will  generously  consider  our  court 
of  minstrelsy  or  bardic  contest  as  closed  with  }'Our  re- 
joinder.     I   suppose  }-ou   understood   mine  to  have  been 

IX  D.    G.    R:S  letters  from  KELMSCOTT  149 

written  and  sent  before  receipt  of  your  later  communica- 

I  may  as  well  enclose  the  cutting  from  Siinday  Times, 
though  I  suppose  you  have  most  likely  seen  it,  and  it  is 
hardly  an  exhaustive  treatment  of  the  subject. 

Many  thanks  for  the  Blake  paper,  which  is  full  of 
interest.  B.'s  view  about  the  flea  is  a  muddle  as  far  as 
expressed.  One  would  suppose  the  figure,  seen  as  you 
say,  to  be  a  sort  of  generic  Eidolon  of  flea-hood,  were 
it  not  for  what  the  spectre  is  made  to  say  of  "  I  myself" 
as  an  individual.  Perhaps  it  is  not  rightly  reported  by 
Varley.  The  etching  is  a  valuable  addition  to  Blake 
records,  but  I  am  uncertain  whether  you  have  rendered 
Milton's  wife  quite  exactly.  In  yours  there  seems  to 
me  a  certain  soup  con  of  Miss  Boyd  !  Can  you  or  she  see 
it  ?  Perhaps,  however,  this  may  exist  in  the  original  (if 
indeed  in  yours),  though  I  did  not  notice  it. 

I  have  read  your  Belgian  book  and  find  it  thoroughly 
readable  either  for  artist  or  layman.  Your  article  on 
Leys  takes,  I  think,  quite  the  true  view  and  is  equal  to 
its  important  theme.  However,  I  am  not  sure  that  you 
dwell  quite  strongly  enough  on  the  fascination  which  L.'s 
intensity  as  antiquarian  and  colourist  gives  him  even  to 
the  most  ideal  class  of  poetic  minds,  though,  as  you  say, 
it  be  quite  questionable  whether  there  were  any  absolute 
poetry  in  his  springs  of  action.  I  think  you  give  Tadema 
his  full  dues,  though  perhaps  not  more.  However,  to 
many  dii  Minores  I  think  you  are  far  too  lenient,  having, 
I  fancy,  a  leaning  towards  Belgians  because  at  any  rate 
they  are  not  Frenchmen.  Your  placing  Portaels  by  the 
side  of  Delaroche  seems  to  me  something  like  treason,  I 
must  say,  and  to  me  the  leading  and  crying  characteristic 
of  Mr.  Van  Lerius  is  such  wretched  badness  that  tJiat  not 
being  first  executed,  critique  of  such  minor  merits  as  he 
may  possess  appears  irrelevant.  I  fancy  some  of  the 
best  Belgians  are  unrepresented  with  you,  but  might  at 
least  have  been  referred  to.  There  is  a  family  of  De 
Brackeleer,    one    member,    at    least,    of  which    is   quite    a 


remarkable  realistic  colourist  and  character -painter,  and 
the  late  International  contained  a  landscape  b}'  Lamor- 
iniere  which  struck  me,  on  a  rather  cursory  glance,  as 
the  only  good  Belgian  picture  there.  Lastly,  I  am  much 
concerned  to  find  that  you  have  alluded  in  no  way  what- 
ever to  Wiertz,  whose  works  I  never  saw  (with  one  large 
exception  quite  noteworth)-  enough  to  increase  curiosity), 
but  who,  I  am  sure,  must  have  been  the  greatest  mental 
genius  (except  Lego  in  his  very  different  walk)  whom 
they  have  had  yet.  Your  power  of  treating  a  critical 
subject  lightly  and  yet  thoroughly  is  as  evident  here  as 
in  the  French  volume.  I  am  rather  sorry,  by  the  bye, 
that  you  have  stated  so  positivel}-  that  the  death  of  Leys 
resulted  from  his  alarm  during  a  thunderstorm.  I  have 
heard  this  point  spoken  of  by  several  who  knew  him  and 
do  not  think  it  seems  so  certain,  while  it  is  a  painful 
association  one  would  wish  away  if  possible. 

I  am  very  sorry  I  did  not  send  the  Frascr  and  other 
papers  before  Wallis  left  you,  but  had  stupidly  forgotten 
that  such  was  your  motive  in  wishing  their  speedy  return. 
Another  happy  man,  after  all,  seems  to  be  Allingham,  for 
all  his  want  of  "  success."  Nothing  but  the  most  absolute 
calm  and  enjoyment  of  outside  nature  could  account  for 
so  much  gadding  hither  and  thither  on  the  soles  of  his 
tw^o  feet.  Fancy  carrying  about  grasses  for  hours  and 
days  from  the  field  where  Burns  ploughed  up  a  daisy. 
Good  God !  if  I  found  the  dais}'  itself  there,  I  would 
sooner  swallow  it  than  be  troubled  to  carry  it  twenty 

In  what  you  say  of  my  sonnets  I  agree  absolutely 
as  to  principles  and  partially  as  to  application.  For 
instance,  I  quite  think  with  you  that  the  two  sonnets  you 
prefer  are  better  than  the  other  two  for  the  reason  given  ; 
and  I  hardly  ever  do  produce  a  sonnet  except  on  some 
basis  of  special  momentary  emotion  ;  but  I  think  there 
is  another  class  admissible  also  —  and  that  is  the  only 
other  I  practise,  viz.  the  class  depending  on  a  line  or 
two  clearly  given  you,  you  know  not  whence,  and  calling 

IX  D.    G.    R:S  letters  from  KELMSCOTT         151 

up  a  sequence  of  ideas.  This  also  is  a  just  raison  d'etre 
for  a  sonnet,  and  such  are  all  mine  when  they  do  not  in 
some  sense  belong  to  the  "  occasional  "  class.  However, 
I  cannot  at  all  perceive  that  I  have  a  habit  of  using 
images  a  second  time,  and  think  that  any  impression  to 
that  effect  must  result  from  hardly  making  due  allowance 
for  the  general  theme  of  the  series.  I  do  not  know 
where  you  would  find  an  instance  in  point,  certainl}'  it 
does  not  seem  to  me  that  there  is  any  more  than  a 
generic  likeness  between  the  two  called  "  The  Dark  Glass," 
"  Through  Death  to  Love,"  or  any  likeness  in  either  to 
any  sonnet  previously  written  by  me.  Certainly  there 
is  a  reference  in  both  to  love  and  death,  but  the  keynote 
of  one  "  Not  I  myself,"  etc.,  is  a  very  special  and 
quite  individual  theme,  and  I  cannot  see  that  the  word 
"  Glass  "  occurring  in  the  title  of  the  one  and  the  body 
of  the  other  is  worth  thinking  about.  What  possible 
resemblance  there  can  be  between  either  of  the  other 
two  and  any  former  sonnet  of  mine  I  cannot  conceive, 
though  you  seem  to  include  these  partially,  if  not  so 
strongly,  in  the  same  objection.  Moreover,  Scotus,  some 
of  your  verbal  cruees  remain  quite  dark  to  me.  What 
particular  fault  can  be  found  in  the  line  "  All  shafts  of 
shelterless,  tumultuous  day "  I  endeavour  to  trace  but 
fail  entirely ;  also  to  discover  the  weak  point  in  the 
last  word  of  "  Cloud  confines,"  which  is  "  still."  Can 
it  be  that  you  think  it  might  seem  ambiguous  with  its 
synonym  meaning  qtizetl  Surely  not.  Your  remarks 
on  the  sunset  poem  baffled  me  too  —  moreover  I  seem 
to  trace  in  the  charge  of  being  "fantastic"  a  covert  form  of 
the  insidious  "  quaint."  There,  Scotus  ! !  As  for  "  Com- 
mandments," the  three  verses  came  into  my  head  during 
a  walk,  and  I  think  of  carrying  it  further  probably,  only 
such  like  verses  do  not  interest  me  much.  I  wish  I 
could  get  some  serious  verse-writing  done  here,  but  begin 
to  see  that  I  shall  not.  In  fact  I  cannot  carry  it  on 
with  painting  to  do  also,  at  any  rate  not  unless  I  am 
quite  alone  ;   and  I  had  some  painting  task -work   to   do, 

152  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

and  have  set  about  a  little  not  task-work  also  ;  and  these 
have  kept  me  from  the  other  Muse,  who,  I  believe,  after 
all  is  my  true  mistress.  I  am  painting  a  little  portrait 
of  Janey  for  a  beautiful  old  frame  I  have,  and  am  getting 
into  the  background  the  leading  features  of  Kelmscott, 
— the  house,  the  picturesque  old  church,  and  the  river- 
banks.  I  think  it  will  be  pretty.  I  have  made  chalk- 
drawings,  too,  of  the  kids  and  of  their  mamma. 

I  am  sorry  you  do  not  seem  to  see  your  way  quite 
clearly  about  the  Nativity  at  the  old  barn,  but  hope  you 
will  yet  drop  into  it.  I  think  you  ought  to  do  some 
painting  again,  for  your  own  satisfaction  above  all,  for  I 
am  sure  when  one  has  once  got  used  to  brush-work  one 
cannot,  somehow,  do  without  it.  I  hope  Miss  Boyd  is 
also  at  something,  for  I  feel  sure  that  her  last  efforts  show 
great  advance,  and  believ-e  her  to  possess  at  least  as  much 
power  in  painting  as  any  woman  I  know — even  the  best. 
Brown  wrote  to  me  from  the  Dark  Blue  for  a  poem  which 
he  was  to  illustrate,  and  I  sent  him  that  "  Holmscote " 
thing  now  called  "  Down  Stream,"  which  removes  your 
just  objection  to  title. 

The  Stillmans  are  back  and  have  brought  me  a 
Yankee  Polly.  Tell  me  if  you  want  your  loans  (Mags, 
and  Belgian  book)  back  at  once.      With  love — Yours, 

D.  G.  R. 

I  hope  all  this  palaver  doesn't  look  as  if  I  did  not 
value  your  opinion,  which  I  assure  you  I  set  great  store 
by,  and  only  call  in  question  because  it  sets  me  thinking. 

D.  G.  R.  to  W.  B.  S.  (VII.) 

Dear  Scotus — Your  three  Burns  Sonnets^  are  such 
as  only  yourself  could  produce,  in  their  tension  of  relish- 
ing reality  with  an  effortless  command  of  thought.  I 
have  no  doubt  they  are  the  very  best  things  ever  written 
about  Burns  in  verse,  or  in  any  prose  but  Carlyle's.  The 
first  yields  perhaps  a  little  too  much  to   momentary  mood 

^   The  sonnets  are  given  later  on,  p.  164. 

IX  D.    G.    R:S  letters  from  K elm  SCOTT         153 

in  its  octave  section,  seeming  a  little  hard  to  identify  or 
localise,  fresh  and  fine  as  it  is.  The  last  line  of  Sonnet 
I.  must,  I  think,  be  altered.  "  I  ween  "  is  almost  always  a 
makeshift  and  moreover  is  essentially  the  same  rhyme 
as  "  between."  If  the  rest  of  the  line  remains  as  it  is 
"  now  ours  "  will  not  do,  will  it,  for  sound  ?  "  Made  ours  " 
might  mend  it  perhaps.  In  II.  the  first  line  of  the  sextet 
seems  to  have  a  sing-song  quality  by  the  placing  of  the 
words  "  tares  "  and  "  years  "  ;  the  same  is  the  case  with 
the  tallying  sound  of  the  first  halves  of  lines  i  i  and 
1 2  ;  and  surely  the  rhyme  "  man  "  and  "  one  "  will  not 
do  except  Scottice — no  pun  meant !     Alight  line  i  2  run — 

"  Die  autumn-sounds,  and  lo  !     This  man  alone." 

Not  so  forcible  of  course,  but  I  fear  me  an  unavoidable 
compromise.  "  Years  "  and  "  whirr,"  with  their  tallies 
come  ill  together  as  a  combination  of  rhymes  (of  course  I 
do  not  suppose  them  meant  to  rhyme  with  each  other), 
but  this  it  seems  necessary  to  let  be.  Sonnet  III.  seems 
as  satisfactory  in  form  as  in  sense.  I  would  only  myself 
prefer  the  omission  of  the  first  "  it "  and  the  break  in 
line  I  ;  and  in  my  copy  there  is  an  oversight  in  line  13, 
"  beats  "  for  "  beat."  I  really  think  it  will  be  a  serious 
matter  for  regret  if  you  do  not  go  over  everything  you 
have  by  you  carefully  and  bring  out  a  volume  again.  I 
am  sure  it  would  be  worth  your  while  in  every  way. 
What  a  monstrous  event  is  the  rejection  of  Lady  Janet ! — 
but  published  in  a  volume  it  would  take  its  place  at  once 
I  have  no  doubt  at  all.  I  hope  these  three  sonnets  are  to 
set  you  going  again.  What  a  very  strange  event  seems 
the  fall  of  Kilkerran  occurring  just  in  this  little  nook  of 
time  since  my  visit.  I  have  often  thought  of  it  and  the 
strange  water-whirl  near  it. 

Brown  is  doing  the  cut  for  my  verses,  and  I  wanted 
him  to  come  here  ien  garcon)  for  his  background,  but  he 
seems  not  easy  to  move. 

W^e  did  not  e.xpect  to  hear  again  from  Morris  till  his 
return,  as   the   steamer  which   took  him   brought   the   first 

154  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chw. 

letter  we  got  on  its  passage  back,  and  no  other  steamer 
would  come  thence  till  the  one  by  which  he  will  return — 
I  believe  about  the  9th  or  loth.  However,  a  few  days 
ago  a  letter  did  come  (entrusted  to  some  Danish  merchant- 
man sailing  thence),  and  gave  a  very  pleasant  account, 
though  not  an  elaborate  one.  He  is  enjoying  himself 
thoroughly,  finds  the  people  so  hospitable  (when  there  are 
any)  that  his  party  has  no  lack  of  bearable  provisions, 
and  their  rides  consist  of  a  cavalcade  of  no  less  than 
twenty-eight  horses  !  Tent-sleeping  they  do  not  suffer 
from  at  all  even  in  cold  weather,  as  the  cold  is  thoroughly 
excluded.  He  has  seen  all  kinds  of  localities  connected 
with  the  Sagas.  He  took  sketching  materials,  but  does 
not  say  if  he  has  used  them. 

I  have  left  no  proper  space  to  pulverise  "  criticasters  " 
on  behalf  of  my  muse,  so  I  will  e'en  leave  her  and  them 
to  their  own  respective  devices.  However,  what  do  you 
think  of  this  as  a  change  in  the  last  4  lines  of  "  Cloud 
Confines  "  ? — 

Oh  never  from  Thee  to  sever 
Who  wast  and  shalt  be  and  art, 

To  throb  at  Thy  heart  for  ever 
Yet  never  to  know  Thy  heart. 

Does  this  not  seem  as  if  it  meant  a  personal  God  ?  I 
don't  think  it  need  do  so. 

I've  done  no  more  verses  (hardly)  except  to  begin  a 
long  ballad  about  a  Magic  Crystal — but  I  don't  know 
when  I  may  get  it  done. 

My  best  love  to  Miss  Boyd  as  well  as  to  yourself  The 
Woodchuck  has  the  same  but  (at  Chelsea)  wots  not  of  it. 
Stillman,  I  hear,  has  brought  me  a  green  parrot. — Ever 
yours,  D.  G.  R. 

D.  G.  R.  to  W.  B.  S.  (VHI.) 

Dearest  Scotus — "  Cloud  Confines  "  again  !  One's 
"  I  "  is  obtrusive  enough  in  tins  world  at  any  rate. 

I  don't  go  with  your  objection  to  the  wind-up  as 
contradictory.      It  is  meant  as  the  possible  answer  to  the 

IX  D.    G.    R:S  letters  from  K elm  SCOTT         155 

question.  I  cannot  suppose  that  any  particle  of  life  is 
extingiiisJied,  though  its  permanent  individuality  may  be 
more  than  questionable.  Absorption  is  not  annihilation  ; 
and  it  is  even  a  real  retributive  future  for  the  special  atom 
of  life  to  be  re-embodied  (if  so  it  were)  in  a  world  which 
its  own  former  ideality  had  helped  to  fashion  for  pain  or 
pleasure.  Such  is  the  theory  conjectured  here.  But  I 
believe  I  am  of  opinion  with  you,  perhaps,  that  it  is  best 
not  to  try  to  squeeze  the  expression  of  it  into  so  small  a 
space,  but  rather  to  leave  the  question  quite  unanswered. 
When  I  sent  you  the  change,  howe\-er,  it  was  a  thought 
of  the  moment,  and  I  have  since  made  it  fit  better  : — as 
thus — 

(Last_y?r't:  lines.) 

And  what  must  our  birthright  be  ? 
Oh,  never  from  thee  to  sever, 

Thou  Will  that  shalt  be  and  art, 
To  throb  at  thy  heart  for  ever. 

Yet  never  to  know  thy  heart. 

However,  I  now  incline  to  reject  this  and  adopt  the 
other  plan,  only  to  wind  up  with  the  old  refrain  would 
hardly  be  either  valuable  or  artistic.  I  should  propose  to 
end  thus — 

What  words  to  say  as  we  go  ? 

What  thoughts  to  think  by  the  way  ? 

What  truth  may  there  be  to  know  ? 

And  shall  we  know  it  one  day  ? 

Now  about  your  Burns  Sonnets. 

I  think  your  new  last  lines  to  Sonnet  II.  a  great  im- 
provement, and  of  course  much  better  than  my  suggestion, 
which,  I  said,  was  but  a  poor  one.  However,  }-ou've  not 
removed  the  "'  eyes  "  and  "  dies,"  making  a  false  rhyme  at 
equal  intervals — a  great  defect  always,  I  think.  Suppose 
we  say  "  fails "  for  "  dies."  Since  I  wrote  you  last,  a 
change  for  the  first  lines  of  Sonnet  I.  has  occurred  to  me, 
which  seems  helpful  in  clearness,  though  it  is  rather 
venturesome  to  give  it  }'ou.  However,  take  it  for  what  it 
may  be  worth — 

156  WILLIAM  BELL  SCOTT  chap. 

"  Out  of  the  road,  you  ploughman  clad  in  gray, 
With  hosen  knitted  by  your  mother's  hand  ! " 
(Methinks  I  hear  some  magnates  of  the  land,) 

"  Stand  from  our  carriage-wheels,  you  stop  the  way  !  " 
Awed  is  he  ?  etc. 

P.S. — If  you  want  to  make  Sonnet  I.  perfect,  here  I 
come  bothering  again.  The  form  of  apostrophe  adopted 
seems  too  long  in  sequence,  and  rather  inconsequent  to 
the  ear,  though  not  in  reality. 

To  me  it  would  seem  better  if  it  merely  said — 

He  keeps  his  happy  way  on  foot  between,  etc. 
Cheeky  all  this,  but  never  mind  ! 

P.P.  etc.  5. ! 

I  almost  forgot  something. 

The  Daily  Tdegrapli  (!)  has  put  a  notion  in  my  head, 
by  an  article  on  lithography.  I  should  like  to  try  and 
lithograph  myself  that  big  picture  of  mine,  and  see  if  one 
could  make  anything  fit  for  publication,  and  what  would 
come  of  it.  I  mean  on  the  scale  and  style  somewhat  of 
the  French  organ-player  subject.  If  one  could  do  some- 
thing of  this  sort  w4th  one's  inventions  (much  the  best 
quality  I  have  as  a  painter)  one  might  really  get  one's 
brain  into  print  before  one  died,  like  Albert  Diirer,  and 
moreover  be  freed  perhaps  from  slavery  to  "  patrons " 
while  one  lived. 

I  fancy  such  a  thing  might  be  possible  to  my  eyes  if 
I  could  do  it,  but  I  ahvays  hear  lithography  cannot  be 
done  in  England  because  of  the  climate  or  something  or 
other.  Do  you  know  anything  about  it,  or  what  is  the 
best  firm  for  printing  such  things? 

D.  G.  R.  to  W.  B.  S.  (IX.) 

Kelmscott,  iz^tJi  September  1871. 

Dearest  W.  B. — I  hope  I  shan't  disgust  you  by 
saying  that  I  miss  the  spirited  start  of  Sonnet  I.  in  your 
present  version,  though,  of  course,  it  elucidates  the  sense. 

IX  D.    G.   R:S  letters  from  KELMSCOTT         157 

Moreover,  the  first  line  now  seems  of  a  Browningian 
ruggedness  rather,  and  suggests  a  very  rutty  carriage-road. 
Also  (alas  !)  I  miss  the  original  plan  of  bringing  Burns 
and  ourselves  in  contact  in  the  last  line.  This  seems  a 
great  loss. 

Morris  only  stayed  a  few  days  here,  but  is  coming 
back.  He  has  kept  a  diary  in  Iceland,  but  not  for 
publication,  and  his  stories  (as  far  as  I  have  heard;  are 
not  so  funny  as  I  hoped.  The  best  is  to  the  effect  that 
Faulkner  and  Magnusson,  at  one  hospitable  mansion 
which  they  visited,  had  their  breeches  deferentially  re- 
moved by  the  lady  of  the  house  on  retiring  to  refresh 
themselves  and  prepare  for  dinner !  Of  this  national 
custom  they  had  heard  before  starting,  but  it  was  only 
actually  observed  on  this  occasion.  I  do  not  know  how 
Morris  escaped,  and  he  was  silent  on  that  point  ;  but  I 
should  think  most  likely  the  evident  imminence  of  a 
defensive  bootjack  flying  through  the  air  may  have  caused 
his  kind  hostess  to  think  twice  about  this  time-honoured 
tradition  in  his  case.  He  seems  to  have  been  much  the 
best  traveller  of  the  four,  though  he  declares  now  that  he 
feels  no  yearning  towards  a  second  experience  of  the 
same  kind.  One  day  he  was  here  he  went  for  a  day's 
fishing  in  our  punt,  the  chief  result  of  which  was  a  sketch 
I  made,  inscribed  as  follows  : 

Enter  Skald,  moored  in  a  punt, 
And  Jacks  and  Tenches  exeunt. 

And  this  seemed  to  be  the  course  of  events. 

My  poem,  "  The  Beryl  Stone,"  has  not  a  comic  side, 
Scotus,  or  at  least  not  an  intentional  one  ;  indeed  it  is  so 
consumedly  tragic  that  I  have  been  obliged  to  modify  the 
intended  course  of  the  catastrophe  to  avoid  an  unmanage- 
able heaping  up  of  the  agony.  I  have  made  a  complete 
prose  version  beforehand,  and  so  get  on  with  it  easily, 
and  shall  finish,  I  hope,  before  leaving  here.  I  hope  it  is 
a  good  thing,  but  there  is  so  much  incident  that  it  is 
necessarily  much  more  of  a  regular  narrative  poem  than  is 
usual  with  me,  and  thus  lacks  the  incisive  concentration 


of  such  a  piece  as  "  Sister  Helen."  I  have  had  to  make 
three  Parts  of  it,  though  the  whole  will  not,  I  hope,  now 
exceed  150  five-line  stanzas.  I  shall  be  glad  to  make  it 
less  if  possible,  as  this,  I  think,  should  be  the  great  aim 
of  all  poetry  which  has  not  absolutely  epic  proportions. 
Nor  should  these  be  undertaken  at  all  if  avoidable. 

Your  suggestion  about  chiaroscuro  engraving  is  one 
I  should  like  to  talk  over.  Two  things  sent  me  by 
Norton  from  Italy,  and  which  I  have  stuck  on  my  bed- 
room wall  here,  are,  I  think,  of  that  class,  done  some 
hundred  years  ago  perhaps.  They  are  from  Veronese 
and  Tintoret,  painters  whom  I  have  got  to  think  simply 
detestable  without  their  colour  and  handling.  The 
Veronese  is  by  an  engraver  named  Jackson  ;  the  Tintoret 
I  suppose  to  be  Italian.  I  presume  the  line  part  in  such 
work  is  wood-engraving,  is  it  not  ?  This  at  once  calls  in 
a  hand  not  one's  own,  and  I  must  confess  the  general 
effect  seems  to  me  wanting  in  depth  and  colour,  though 
it  might  conceivably  include  both  perhaps. 

I  am  delighted  to  hear  of  the  progress  of  the  Nativity 
subject,  from  which  I  shall  expect  real  results,  and  sur- 
prised to  hear  that  the  Burns  picture  has  actually  been 
accomplished.  Howell  is  at  Northend,  I  believe,  and  has 
actually  got  his  father  with  him  at  last,  as  I  hear  !  The 
Tademas  will  be  lucky  if  they  get  the  "  Rainy  Day," 
which,  however,  is  rather  an  ominous  wedding -present. 
The  Portfolio  you  asked  after  is  not  worth  sending,  I 
think.  With  love  to  Miss  Boyd,  of  whose  work  you  tell 
me  not,  I  am  ever  yours,  D.  G.  R. 

P.S. — Discontent  again!  I  think  the  "  and  "  before 
"  lo  !  "  in  line  i  2,  Sonnet  II.,  is  wanted.      Could  it  not  run  : 

Of  stream  and  hoppers  hushed  ;  and  lo  !  this  one,  etc.  ? 

In  this  letter  we  hear  of  his  getting  well  on  with 
his  longest  mystical  poem,  "  The  Beryl  Stone,"  which, 
however,  he  does  not  send  me  any  portion  of;  in 
fact  he  never  show^ed  an  incomplete  work  in  poetry. 

IX  D.    G.    R:S  letters  from  KELMSCOTT  159 

It  is  to  be  observed  that  he  has  made  a  complete 
prose  vei^sion  beforehand,  a  plan  that  he  now  began 
to  practise,  to  the  ruin  of  his  impulse  and  invention. 
The  subject  "  Orchard  Pits,"  which  he  had  planned 
before  his  departure  from  Penkill,  and  which  I  saw 
reason  to  think  would  have  turned  out  his  finest 
imaginative  Ballad  Poem,  was  ruined  by  his  making 
a  similar  prose  version.  This  being  done  had  the 
effect  of  crippling  his  powers.  The  instant  I  read 
this  preliminary  piece  of  work,  I  felt  the  poem  itself 
would  never  follow. 

His  idea  of  chiaroscuro  prints  was  never  tried. 
The  things  he  mentions  as  being  sent  him  by 
a  Mr.  Norton  from  Italy  were  detestable  perform- 
ances :  attempts  to  revive  the  ancient  chiaroscuros 
by  early  Germans  and  Italians,  Da  Carpi  and  many 
others,  who,  being  themselves  great  artists,  made 
admirable  prints  in  a  wild  rough  style  of  effect.  All 
these  I  had  among  my  collection,  and  still  have 
many  ;  but  Jackson  was  a  very  poor  artist  and  his 
works  are  base.  He  tried  his  revival  towards  the 
middle  of  last  century,  and  had  some  influence  in 
rendering  printed  wall-papers  the  rival  of  stamped 
leather  as  interior  humble  decoration. 

D.  G.  R.  to  W.  B.  S.  (X.) 

Kelmscott,  Friday  (1S71). 

Dear  Scotus — I  have  two  only  pieces  of  news  I 
think  ;   let  the  worst  come  first. 

Obiit  Woodchuck 

i6o  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

I  have  really  felt  very  sad  about  him,  poor  dear.^       Don't 
ask  details  of  his  decease,  for  I  know  none. 

I  really  forget  whether  you  or  I  be  the  epistolary 
debtor,  but  this  news  had  to  be  told.  The  other  news  is 
that  1  have  finished  "  Rose  Mary,"  my  magic  poem — three 
parts  making  i6o  stanzas.  I  hope  it's  a  good  'un.  It's 
no  good  thinking  of  sending  it  you,  being  too  long  to 
copy,  and  I  want  the  one  I  have  —  moreover,  shouldn't 
like  to  risk  loss.  It  ought  to  have  been  done  at  Pen- 
kill,  however,  being  a  sort  of  Scotch  or  Border  story.  I 
found  I  could  make  it  nothing  else,  though  on  this 
account  I  avoided  setting  about  the  long  -  delayed 
Orchard  Pits."  I  should  like  to  do  that  and  another 
now  as  soon  as  may  be — and  then  with  smaller  things 
might  perhaps  make  a  fair  volume  again. 

A  brother  Yankee  sent  me  a  queer  account  of  IMiller 
the  other  day  cut  from  a  New  York  paper.  He  seems  to 
be  known  in  the  newspaper  parlance  as  The  Wild  Byrojt 
of  the  Untrammelled  Plains. — Perhaps  there's  a  deal  of 
lying  about  him. 

I  shall  have  to  get  back  soon  now,  with  less  painting 
done  than  I  hoped,  as  the  poem  clawed  hold  of  me  and 
had  to  be  done.      I  hope  your  picture  gets  on. 

Let's  have  a  line  from  you.  You're  owing  it  now, 
whether  or  not  you  were  before. —  Ever  yours, 

D.  G.  R. 

Hiiffer  has  come  to  be  our  neighbour  at  i  i  Cheyne 
Walk.  He  wrote  me  that  a  Tauchnitz  volume  of  my 
things  is  to  appear. 

D.  G.  R.  to  \V.  B.  S.  (XL) 

Monday  {2iid  October  1 871). 

Here  comes  my  last  Kelmscott  letter,  Scotus,  and 
I'm  blowed  if  I  haven't  been  a  better  correspondent  than 

1  The  Woodchuck  was  one  of  the  many  favourites  D.  G.  R.  in- 
dulged in  keeping.  It  was  a  curious  creature  ;  and  should  have 
lived  for  ever  if  the  servants  in  his  absence  had  attended  to  it. 

IX  D.    G.    R:S  letters   from  KELM SCOTT  i6i 

you  have — though  I  daresay  I've  done  as  much  work  too. 
I'm  glad  to  hear  you've  got  the  barn  painted,  but  view  the 
proposal  to  leave  it  as  barn  simple,  as  a  base  one  after  my 
liberality  in  bestowing  that  splendid  subject  on  you. 

I  fancy  I  shall  be  in  town  certainly  before  you,  though 
I  can't  say  exactly  what  day  I  leave  here.  They  are  all 
at  Euston  Square  again,  and  Wm.'s  news  of  Christina  is 
that  she  is  now  much  in  her  average  state  of  health  and 

Morris  has  been  here  twice  since  his  return,  viz.  for  a 
few  days  at  first,  and  just  now  for  a  week  again.  He  is 
now  back  in  London,  and  this  place  will  be  empty  of  all 
inmates  by  the  end  of  this  week,  I  think.  M.  has  set  to 
work  with  a  will  on  a  sort  of  masque  called  "  Love  is 
Enough,"  which  he  means  to  print  as  a  moderate  quarto, 
with  woodcuts  by  Ned  Jones  and  borders  by  himself, 
some  of  which  he  has  done  really  very  beautifully. 

The  poem  is,  I  think,  at  a  higher  point  of  execution 
perhaps  than  anything  that  he  has  done — having  a 
passionate  lyric  quality  such  as  one  found  in  his  earliest 
work,  and  of  course  much  more  mature  balance  in  carrying 
out.      It  will  be  a  very  fine  work. 

Of  course  I'm  leaving  here  just  as  I  was  getting  into 
the  poetic  groove,  and  I  know  were  I  to  stay  I  should  have 
a  volume  ready  by  the  end  of  another  three  months. 
But  it  may  not  be.  My  title  of  "  Rose  Mary "  is  a 
compounded  name,  dedicatory  to  the  Virgin,  quite  possible 
enough  and  useful  to  my  scheme.  The  poem  is  much 
more  plain-sailing  narrative,  I  think,  than  any  of  mine 
hitherto ;  but  one  must  not  forget  that  when  Browning 
finished  "Sordello,"  he  wrote  to  his  friends  from  Italy  that 
now  at  any  rate  he  had  done  something  which  his  worst 
enemies  could  not  call  obscure. 

I  see  by  advertisements  I  figure  as  the  first  victim  in  a 
series  (I  presume)  under  the  title  of  the  "  Fleshly  School 
of  Poetry  "  ^   in  the  Contemporary  Revieiu  for  October,  but 

1  This  was  the  first  notice  of  the  blow  that  nearly  lost  him  his 
life.      Byron's  impudent  couplet — 

VOL.   II  M 

i62  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

haven't  seen  it  yet.  Brown's  drawing  to  my  verses 
(stanza  i)  in  the  Dark  Blue  is  a  very  fine  one,  I  think — 
two  indeed  there  are,  and  the  minor  one  (stanza  4)  also  is 
very  nice. — You  ask  me  about  America.  My  vol  was 
printed  there  at  once,  and  I  received  through  the  pubHshers 
many  reviews — some  enthusiastic,  others  sulky  or  dis- 
paraging. All  the  author's  percentage  they  have  sent  me 
is  a  beggarly  ;£^20,^  and  I  don't  believe  the  thing  has  had 
a  popular  success  there. 

Did  you  see  in  the  Pall  Mall  Gazette  a  letter  about  a 
Communalist  Benevolent  Society  in  London  ?  It  interested 
me,  as  they  seem  really,  poor  fellows,  to  be  helping  each 
other  in  a  very  bad  plight,  and  I  sent  a  subscription  to 
Colvin,  asking  him  to  get  it  conveyed  through  the  Pall 
Mall,  but  have  not  heard  from  him.  Poor  old  Courbet's 
escape  was  satisfactory,  though  after  all  it  seems  probable 
he  may  be  stripped  of  all  he  possesses,  being  the  only  one, 
it  seems,  with  any  money  to  meet  the  joint  liability  of  the 
prisoners  for  their  expenses.  It  put  me  in  a  great  rage 
all  along  to  see  the  contempt  with  which  this  really 
meritorious  man  was  treated  by  the  press,  as  contrasted 
with  the  excitement  about  everything  concerning  so  paltry 
an  adventurer  as   *   *   * 

I  have  read  several  of  Scott's  novels  here,  and  been 
surprised  both  at  their  usual  melodramatic  absurdities  of 
plot  and  their  astounding  command  of  character  in  the 
personages  by  whom  all  these  improbabilities  are  enacted. 

Strange  that  the  soul,  that  very  fieiy  pai-ticle, 
Should  let  itself  be  snuffed  out  by  an  article 

has  been  entirely  denied  as  applied  to  Keats.  There  can  be  no 
doubt  of  its  truth  applied  to  D.  G.  R.  He  was  saved  from  imined- 
iate  death  by  Professor  Marshall,  but  he  never  recovered  his  mental 
balance,  even  such  as  it  had  been  for  many  years  before. 

^  This  puts  me  in  mind  of  Emerson's  answer,  when  I  asked  him 
on  his  last  visit  to  England  (he  called  twice  on  me  at  Chelsea)  why 
the  Americans  had  not  taken  to  Rossetti  as  a  poet.  His  answer 
included  Christina's  poetry  as  well,  and  showed  the  keenness  of  his 
critical  incision.  "  Yes  ;  we  scarcely  take  to  the  Rossetti  poetry  ; 
it  does  not  come  home  to  us  ;  it  is  exotic  ;  but  we  like  Christina's 
religious  pieces." 

IX  D.   G.   R:S  letters  from  KELMSCOTT         163 

The  novels  are  wonderful  works  with  all  their  faults. 
Guy  Mannering  and  St.  Ronan's  ]Vcll — neither  of  which 
I  knew  before — delighted  me  extremely.  Another  I  read 
is  the  Fair  Maid  of  Perth,  which  is  on  a  level  with  the 
Victoria  Drama  in  some  respects,  but  in  some  points  of 
conception  and  vivid  reality  in  parts  can  only  be  compared 
to  the  greatest  imaginative  works  existing. 

I  am  sorry  Miss  Boyd  is  not  to  return  with  you,  as  it 
will  thus  be  some  time  before  we  benefit  by  the  society 
of  Hiififer,  Boyce,  or  our  old  friend  Tacitus.  Will  you 
give  her  my  love  and  believe  me  your  affectionate 


P.S. — I  hear  through  William  that  the  proposal  to 
move  our  father's  remains  being  negatived  by  my  mother's 
objections,  a  memorial  is  to  be  erected  to  him  in  Santa 
Croce,  Florence. 

And  so  the  one-sided  correspondence  ends.  I 
may,  how^ever,  make  a  finale  by  quoting  a  distich  on 
his  poor  lost  friend  the  Woodchuck,  which  I  have 
somehow  preserved,  while  losing  the  leaf  of  his  last 
letter  on  which  it  must  have  been  written.  The 
title  "  Parted  Love  "  is  chaff  directed  to  my  Sonnets 
so  called,  which  he  held  to  the  highest  honour  of 
any  poems  I  had  ever  done. 


Oh,  how  the  family  affections  combat 
Within  this  heart,  and  each  hour  flings  a  bomb  at 
My  burning  soul  ;   neither  from  owl  nor  from  bat 
Can  peace  be  to  me  now  I've  lost  my  W^ombat ! 

But  since  I  have  given  Rossetti's  complimentary 
opinion  as  well  as  persevering  criticism,  showing 
both    the   fulness  of  his  expression  of  friendly  and 

1 64  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

favourable  verdict,  and  his  willingness  to  aid  with 
advice,  I  think  it  necessary  to  give  the  reader  the 
Sonnets  about  Burns  themselves,  that  he  may- 
satisfy  himself  regarding  the  works  calling  forth  so 
much  notice  from  the  author  of  such  great  per- 
formances as  the  "White  Ship,"  and  the  "King's 




"  You  Ayrshire  ploughman  clad  in  homespun  gray, 
And  hosen  knitted  by  your  mother's  hand — " 
(Methinks  I  hear  some  magnate  of  the  land, 
Loitering  upon  fashion's  smooth  highway), 
"  Step  out  and  sing  to  pass  our  time  away. 

We'll  call  thee  Phoebus  in  his  shepherd  trim, 
Or  eastern  Bacchus  with  the  wine  in  him. 
Your  song  is  done  ?      Good-night  then,  do  not  stay  !  " 

But  why  now  think  of  him  except  between 

The  plough  shafts,  or  with  seed-corn  in  the  spring. 

Or  by  his  native  streams  with  loves  unseen. 
Or  where  autumnal  flowering  hedgerows  bring 
Odours  and  bees,  and  reaping  lasses  sing. 

Whose  brows  now  wear  his  myrtle  ever  green  ? 


This  is  the  cottage  room  as  'twas  of  old  : 

The  window  four  small  panes,  and  in  the  wall 
The  box-bed,  where  the  first  daylight  did  fall 
Upon  their  new-born  infant's  narrow  fold 
And  poor,  when  times  were  hard  and  winds  were  cold, 


As  they  were  still  with  him.      Lo  !   now  close  by 
Above  Corinthian  columns  mounted  high 
The  old  Athenian  Tripod  shines  in  gold  ! 

The  lumbering  carriages  of  these  dull  years 

Have  passed  away  :   their  dust  has  ceased  to  whirr 

About  the  footsore  :   silent  to  our  ears 

Is  that  maelstrom  of  Scottish  men  ;   this  son 
Of  all  that  age  we  count  the  kingliest  one  : 

Such  is  Time's  justice,  Time  the  harvester. 


Could  we  but  see  the  Future  ere  it  comes, 
As  gods  must  see  effects  in  causes  hid, — 
How  calmly  could  we  wait  till  we  were  bid  ! 

Heroes  would  hear  triumphal  far-off  drums. 

Would    see   fame's   splendours   ere   the   threads   and 

Had  formed  it  in  to-morrow's  living  loom  ; 

Would  feel  the  honours  round  the  marble  tomb 
O'er  the  black  fosse  in  which  this  life  succumbs. 

If  it  were  so  !   but  wiser  fates  take  care 

That  it  is  not  so  :   passing  mists  and  storm. 
The  sunlight  and  the  drifting  clouds  all  form 
A  rent  but  triple  veil  'gainst  which  the  wings 
Of  crimson  passion  beat,  a  lock-fast  gare, 
Where,  blinded  nightingale,  the  poet  sings. 

It  may  be  naturally  asked  why  I  did  not  print 
these  three  sonnets,  which  had  received  so  much 
approbation  from  the  greatest  of  our  circle,  and  from 
others.  The  answer  requires  a  little  explanation. 
In   my  estimate  of  the  poet's  true  mission   in   this 


world,  I  hold  that  whatever  he  says  should  be  the 
vital  truth  In  relation  to  the  thing  mentioned,  man 
or  fact  in  story  or  nature,  and  I  had  come  to  the 
conclusion  that  Burns's  moral  nature  disqualified 
him  in  my  mind  from  receiving  such  eulogium. 
Poetry  without  this  absolutely  critical  sincerity  and 
truth  may  be  beautiful,  but  its  beauty  is  to  me  not 
charming  but  offensive.  It  is  as  a  Cyprian,  to  be 
relegated  to  shores  of  Paphos  and  left  there.  At 
this  very  time  I  had  been  engaged  to  edit  the  poetry 
of  the  Ayrshire  bard,  to  edit  and  illustrate,  a  task  which 
occupied  a  goodly  share  of  study.  This  edition  was 
never  published,  although  paid  for  by  my  publisher, 
but  it  brought  me  into  intimate  correspondence  with 
Mr.  Scott  Douglas  of  Edinburgh,  among  others  who 
had  dedicated  themselves  to  the  most  elaborate  and 
careful  examination  of  successive  actions  in  the  life 
of  the  poet.  Mr.  Scott  Douglas's  subject  was  the 
hitherto-considered  lovely  idyll  of  the  swearing  fealty 
across  the  running  stream,  and  giving  Mary  the 
Bible  with  the  same  oath  inscribed  in  it.  By  the 
dates  of  various  incidents  and  letters,  Mr.  Scott 
Douglas  established  beyond  doubt  that  Burns,  im- 
mediately on  Mary's  leaving  the  neighbourhood  to 
visit  her  relatives  before  her  expected  marriage, 
made  up  his  old  intimacy  with  Jean  Armour.  Had 
Mary  not  died  on  her  journey  to  meet  him  again, 
she  would  have  found  his  oath  gone  to  the  winds, 
and  Burns  already  married.  The  Bible  may  still  be 
seen  in  the  Mausoleum  at  Dumfries,  but  with  the 
inscription  carefully  pasted  over  by  the  family  of  the 


girl.  This  discovery  with  all  its  possibilities  of 
treachery  so  disgusted  me  that  I  threw  the  sonnets 
aside  ;  only  converting  the  last  of  the  three  into  a 
celebration  of  Keats,  who  died  with  the  belief  that 
he  had  written  in  water  !  ^ 

1  [Sonnet    II.,   however,   was   published   in    The  Pocfs  Harvest 
Home,  1882,  among  the  sonnets  "Of  Poets,"  p.  125. — Ed.] 



October  of  1871  having  begun  and  ended,  all  of  us 
had  returned  to  Cheyne  Walk,  D.  G.  R.'s  vigour  in 
all  things,  painting,  poetry,  and  letter-writing — the 
tone  of  the  latter  showing  a  healthy  elasticity — he 
had  left  never  to  find  as^ain.  We  recommenced  our 
whist,  sometimes  with  Boyce  or  Hiiffer,  and  some- 
times by  ourselves  with  our  classical  friend  Ouartus 
Tacitus,  but  the  article  in  the  Contemporary ,  referred 
to  in  his  last  letter,  was  to  him  like  a  slow  poison, 
till  at  last  he  could  not  follow  the  game,  and  used 
to  throw  down  his  cards. 

A  few  words  about  ourselves.  Miss  Boyd  had 
become  heiress  to  a  large  share  in  a  vast  ironwork, 
and  to  a  considerable  share  in  the  Tyne  Main  coal- 
mine. One  of  these  great  commercial  undertakings 
became  overhead  in  debt,  cut  out  by  other  better- 
located  iron  companies,  when  none  of  them  were 
very  remunerative,  and  the  water  came  into  the 
Tyne  Main  pit !  Whether  the  ancient  family  place 
would  be  lost  to  her  was  hanging  in  the  balance, 
yet   she    showed    no    anxiety,   but,   like    a    heroine 


determined  to  meet  her  fate  without  closing  her 
eyes,  she  waited  the  end,  which  was  not  so  serious 
as  it  threatened  to  be.  She  had  found,  too,  after 
her  brother's  death,  that  Penkill  was  mortgaged! 
I  mention  these  things,  which  are  not  properly 
within  the  compact  with  myself  in  writing  these 
notes,  just  to  show  the  contrast  in  the  trio  thus 
meeting  together  in  the  attempt  to  make  life  pass 
pleasantly.  One  a  lady  able  to  bear  herself 
equably  on  the  verge  of  what  she  felt  to  be  the 
greatest  misfortune  possible  to  befall  her  affairs ; 
another,  the  man  thought  by  his  world  (myself 
among  the  number)  one  of  the  greatest  geniuses  of 
the  age,  visibly  breaking  down  under  the  paltry 
infliction  of  "an  article."  The  third,  an  old  boy, 
making  himself  contented  at  last  to  be  a  pidor 
ignohis,  a  poet  without  recognition,  during  the  span- 
long  time  of  his  journey  in  the  world  ;  supported,  it 
may  be,  by  the  belief  that  sooner  or  later,  somehow 
or  other,  we  all  get  some  part  of  our  deserts,  and  if 
we  do  not  it  matters  litde.  I  was,  indeed,  haunted 
by  the  consciousness  of  having  missed  my  mark  by 
following  "all  things  by  starts,  and  nothing  long" 
— a  habit  that  had  become  necessary  to  me  ;  it  was 
ruinous  to  me,  in  one  way,  but  my  salvation  in 
another,  assisting  me  in  keeping  up  a  naturally 
defective  interest  in  life,  and  filling  every  moment 
with  more  than  its  due  weight  of  occupation,  my 
most  efficient  means  of  preventing  the  recurrent 
attacks  of  a  species  of  nervous  despair.  This 
mental   disease,  although  not   mentioned   before   as 


far  as  I  remember,  had  been  all  my  life  one  of  my 
most  perplexing  and  dangerous  enemies.  I  had 
gradually  outlived  it ;  and  now,  much  the  oldest  of 
the  three,  I  was  able  to  sympathise  with  and  to 
assist  both. 

Sir  Henry  Cole  had  committed  to  my  hands  a 
scheme  for  decorating  the  staircases  to  the  two 
doors  of  the  lecture  theatre  at  the  Museum  of  South 
Kensington.  Had  this  been  carried  out  it  would, 
I  believe,  have  affirmed  my  position  in  art,  but  the 
increase  of  the  Museum  made  the  accumulation  of 
new  objects  swarni  even  up  the  staircases  ;  at  least 
the  fear  of  that  delayed  the  work  till  funds  had  to 
be  otherwise  applied.  The  drawings  in  small  were 
deposited  in  the  archives  of  the  Museum,  but  here 
is  a  tracing  of  my  design  for  one  of  the  doors, 
representing  The  Genius  of  Art  recording  names  in 
a  Libro  cT  Oro,  and  on  the  pilasters  on  either  side 
the  apple  boughs  of  Knowledge,  with  the  serpent 
round  the  stems,  modelled  and  cast  in  metal. 
Among  the  literary  work  of  the  passing  day  I 
wrote  a  Christmas  book  on  the  Venetian  School, 
and  one  on  the  Spanish,  which  Sir  \V.  Stirling 
Maxwell  kindly  read  over  in  proofs.  Others  fol- 
lowed, on  English  Sculptors ;  English  Landscape 
Painters ;  Italian  Af asters,  Lesser  ajtd  G^'cater,  etc. 
These  were  better  than  they  deserved  to  be,  and 
only  made  me  feel  that  I  was  throwing  my  time 
away,  and  was  in  danger  of  looking  like  a  literary 
hack  ;  so  I  did  no  more.  When  the  scheme  for  paint- 
ings on  the  staircases  collapsed,  I  said  to  Sir  Henry 

PaoajravuT!  byAimanitone.ljlasqow. 

^J/iiM//,AH/^j£(^Me^<Jnm.^£yJy^^  ^^nM^ia/cm . 

D.    G.   ROSSETTI  171 

Cole  how  much  I  regretted  the  faikire,  adding  that 
my  chances  somehow  were  always  withdrawn.  "  Oh, 
we  make  our  own  chances,"  was  his  reply,  which  I 
have  never  forgotten,  so  true  and  yet  so  delusive, 
temperament  having  so  much  command  over  us. 
For  myself  the  bias  natural  to  me  is  to  somnam- 
bulate,  not  to  act ;  never  to  play  first  fiddle,  rather 
to  pay  him  ;  to  reflect  mainly,  and  to  absorb  amuse- 
ment from  my  surroundings  and  friends. 

At  last  midsummer  of  1872  was  drawing  on. 
/B.  had  left  us  for  Penkill,  and  I  was  looking 
forward  to  following  her.  One  day  I  had  some 
friends  to  dinner  ;  ten  used  to  be  my  number,  two 
or  three  times  in  the  season  before  leaving  town. 
On  this  particular  day  one  of  the  friends  was 
D.  G.  R. ;  we  were  loitering  about  the  drawing- 
room  waiting  for  the  latest  man,  who  was  Gabriel 
himself.  At  last  we  heard  a  tremendous  peal  at 
the  bell,  and  knocking,  a  great  noise  ascended  the 
stair,  and  he  burst  in  upon  us,  shouting  out  the 
name  of  Robert  Buchanan,  who,  it  appeared,  he 
had  discovered  to  be  the  writer  of  the  article  in  the 
Contemporary  Reviezv  which  was  so  distracting  him. 
He  was  too  excited  to  observe  or  to  care  who  were 
present,  and  all  the  evening  he  continued  unable  to 
contain  himself,  or  to  avoid  shouting  out  the  name 
of  his  enemy.  I  was  glad  when  the  sitting  came  to 
an  end,  and  one  after  another  left  with  a  private 
word  of  inquiry  regarding  Rossetti.  From  this 
time  he  occupied  himself  in  composing  a  long  reply, 
which  he  read  over  a  hundred  times,  till  the  lives  of 

172  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

his  friends  became  too  heavy  to   bear.       But   in  a 
very  few  weeks  the  crisis  came. 

One  morning  at  an  early  hour  W.  INI.  R.  came 
along  to  me — now  living  at  hand,  at  No.  92 — in  a 
desponding  state  of  mind.  He  wished  me  to 
accompany  him  at  once.  Swallowing  a  cup  of  tea, 
we  hurried  to  No.  16,  and  found  our  friend  in  a 
condition  painful  to  witness.  Professor  Marshall, 
and  Dr.  Hake,  whose  verses  Rossetti  had  so 
admired  and  assisted — now  doctoring  his  doctor  in 
another  art — were  there,  and  agreed  that  the  patient 
must  chang-e  his  surroundinQ;s.  Where  was  he  to 
go  ?  Dr.  Hake  answered  that  question  by  offering 
to  take  him  out  with  him  to  his  house  at  Roe- 
hampton.  A  cab  was  brought  at  once  ;  we  all 
thought  it  strange  to  see  him  so  willing  to  go,  but 
that  niofht  it  was  too  evident  he  wanted  to  be 
secluded,  and  for  three  days  he  lay  as  one  dead, 
and  only  by  a  treatment,  invented  for  the  moment 
by  Professor  Marshall,  was  he  cured.  But  as  I  was 
only  at  Roehampton  on  one  visit,  not  to  him,  but  to 
William,  who  was  made  seriously  ill  by  his  brother's 
state,  it  does  not  fall  to  me  to  give  any  further 
account  of  my  friend's  sad  condition,  till  it  was 
determined  that  he  was  not  to  return  to  Chelsea, 
but  that  a  further  change  of  scene  would  be  neces- 
sary, and  I  volunteered  to  be  a  second  with  young 
George  Hake,  to  take  charge  of  him.  His  new 
retirement  was  to  be  far  off,  at  Stobhall,  near 
Perth,  the  shooting  and  fishing  quarters  of  William 
Graham,     M.P.    for    Glasgow,     his    most     efficient 


D.    G.   ROSSETTI  173 

friend,  and  the  greatest  admirer  of  his  art.  Brown 
and  George  Hake  took  him  down,  and  when  I  was 
free  to  leave  town,  just  two  days  after,  I  released 
the  former  and  stayed  with  him  there  for  three  long 

The  place  where  we  lived,  Stobhall,  by  the  Tay 
near    Perth,    was,    two    centuries    ago,    one    of   the 
houses  of  the  ancient  family  of  the  Drummonds,  the 
head  of  which,  the  Duke  of  Perth,  as  the  Jacobites 
called  him,  lost  everything  in  the  rebellion  of  171 5. 
It   was   originally   a    peel    tower   with    a    very   un- 
common appendage,  a  chapel  of  the  same  early  date 
as    the   tower ;   and   now   it    had    one   of   the   most 
charming  old  gardens   I  have  ever  seen,  with  Irish 
yews  and  hollies,  trained   by  long   years  of  careful 
shaping  into  straight  columns  25  feet  high,  and  roses 
almost  reaching  to   the  same  height  supported  on 
poles.     The  part  we  lived  in  was  more  modern,  but 
some  of  the  small  rooms  in  the  early  portion  of  the 
house  were  lovely  in  their  rude  but  pure  style.       I 
painted  a  water-colour  picture  of  the  garden,  and 
here  is  a  sketch  of  a  primitive  fireplace,  dated  1578, 
and  recessed  window  in  a  small  room.     The  chapel, 
I  considered  on  careful  examination,  had  been  the 
earliest  portion  of  the  building.     There  is  no  other 
example  of  a  peel  or  defensible  square  tower,  incor- 
porated with  which  is  a  chapel,  and  in  this  case  the 
chapel    occupies    the    ground,    and    the    house    has 
been  built  partly  over  it.     After  a  time,  the  larger 
dwelling-house  in  which  we  lived,  with  its  gateway 
and  causewayed  courtyard,  had  been  added. 

174  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

Of  our  lives  these  melancholy  weeks  I  shall 
say  little.  He  could  not  take  much  walking 
exercise,  a  partial  lameness  or  paralysis  of  one  side 
having  resulted  from  the  days  of  unconsciousness 
during  which  he  had  remained  rigidly  in  one  con- 
strained position.  He  could  not  bear  reading,  nor 
would  he  join  us  in  the  old  game.  From  all  the 
letters  I  wrote  at  that  time  I  make  no  extract.  I 
have  not  hitherto  used  my  own  letters,  the  few  I 
have  access  to,  in  this  writing,  and  shall  not  do  so 
now  ;  it  would  be  too  painful ;  although,  indeed,  I 
cannot  help  feeling  that  his  malady  was  unique — 
different  from  other  maladies,  as  he  himself  was 
different  from  other  men.  His  delusions  had  a 
fascination,  like  his  personality. 

Meanwhile  his  brother  William  had  been  so 
prostrated  by  anxiety,  loving  Gabriel  much  and 
fearinof  him  not  a  little,  that  F.  M.  Brown  took  all 
business  matters  out  of  his  hand.  Gabriel's  affairs 
were  alarmingly  out  of  order,  and  it  was  thought 
proper  to  have  all  his  pictures,  finished  or  in  progress, 
removed  elsewhere.  They  were  accordingly  taken 
to  my  house,  which  was  conveniently  near,  among 
them  the  largre  "  Dante's  Dream."  The  blue  china 
which  he  had  collected,  partially  but  very  in- 
adequately accounting  for  the  exhaustion  of  his 
exchequer,  was  precipitately  sold.  This  aesthetic 
passion,  which  would  have  excited  the  laughter  of 
any  other  poet,  except  the  most  artificial  man  of  the 
Hotel  Rambouillet,  if  such  gentlemen  of  the  full- 
bottomed  wig  and  the  clouded  cane  can  be  called 

D.    G.   ROSSETTI  175 

poets,  was  still  so  strong  upon  him  that  when  in  a 
few  months  his  amazing  power  of  resuscitation 
brought  him  back  to  health,  the  loss  of  this  china 
appeared  to  trouble  him  more  than  anything  else ! 
Perhaps  it  might  be  that  the  disposal,  without  his 
knowledge,  of  this  assemblage  of  pots  and  dishes 
proved  to  him  how  ill  he  had  been,  as  he  still  con- 
tinued to  assert  that  we  were  under  delusions  and  not 
he  himself,  as  to  the  number  of  his  enemies,  and  it 
was  difficult  to  make  him  own  he  had  been  ill  at  all. 

I  have  spoken  of  the  amazing  bodily  power  of 
recovery  our  friend  showed ;  week  by  week  the 
cloud  rose,  and  towards  the  end  of  September  he 
insisted  on  leaving  Scotland,  and  returning,  not  to 
Penkill,  whither  Miss  Boyd  had  invited  him,  but  to 
Kelmscott,  which  at  that  moment  he  could  have  all 
to  himself. 

From  there  he  wrote  to  me  in  the  beginning  of 
October.  "  Here  I  am,  as  well  as  ever  I  was  in  my 
life.  I  passed  the  greater  part  of  yesterday  with  my 
mother  and  sisters  at  Euston  Square,  and  came  on 
here  to-day.  Even  my  lameness  seems  a  little 
better  the  last  few  days,  and  my  voice  is  itself  again. 
Your  character  as  a  correspondent  is  entirely  gone. 
Are  you  ever  going  to  give  me  news  of  yourself 
again  ?  If  I  wanted  to  get  possession  of  the  large 
'  Dante's  Dream  '  picture,  now  at  your  house,  how  am 
I  to  do  so  ?"  This  inquiry  showed  he  had  returned 
to  painting  again  !  And  so  it  was  :  I  visited  him, 
and  found  him  hard  at  work,  as  if  no  break  in  the 
continuity  of  his  habits  had  taken  place  !     Anxious 

176  WILLIAM  BELL  SCOTT  chap. 

for  some  medical  news  of  him  before  I  went  to  Kelms- 
cott,  I  wrote  to  Dr.  Hake,  and  he  answered  that 
he  heard  very  often  of  Rossetti,  directly  or  indirectly, 
and  found  every  account  satisfactory  in  a  high 
degree.  "  The  past  seems  to  be  dwindling  into  a 
dream,  and  I  cannot  doubt  but  that  it  recurs  to  our 
gifted  friend  only  in  that  light,  though  he  will,  to 
avoid  a  painful  avowal,  never  return  to  the  subject 
with  his  friends,  and  it  is  best  perhaps  that  it 
should  be  treated  as  forgotten.  His  mind  appears 
now  to  be  in  a  state  of  healthy  activity  as  regards 
painting,  but  I  doubt  if  he  will  resume  literature  for 
some  time  to  come,  his  poetry  having  produced  him 
so  painful  an  experience." 

I  was  at  this  time  (as  I  have  already  said)  much 
occupied  on  a  new  edition  of  Burns,  both  as  editor 
and  illustrator,  and  Mr.  Scott  Douglas  of  Edinburgh, 
kindly  assisting  me,  among  other  things  sent  me  an 
unpublished  letter  of  Burns,  so  exuberant  in  its  flowers 
of  speech,  I  sent  a  copy  to  amuse  Rossetti,  fearing  I 
should  not  be  able  to  have  it  printed,  and  not  being 
able  at  once  to  visit  him.  This  letter  of  the  Ayr- 
shire poet's  delighted  him  immensely.  He  replies  : 
"  Many  thanks  for  this  wonderful  epistle! — to  what 
Corinthian,  Galatian,  or  other,  seems  not  to  be 
known.  It  is  Burns  himself  for  once,  instead  of 
Burns  trying  as  usual  in  his  letters  to  be  Addison, 
Pope,  or  any  one  else.  Is  it  really  possible  that  such 
a  document  should  not  get  into  print  ?  It  stands 
out  among  the  mass  of  his  correspondence  and  should 
absolutely  be  in  print.      If  you  could  only  get  a  few 

BURiVS    TO  A  INS  LIE  177 

more  such  letters,  your  edition  would  supersede  all 
other  editions."  Then  he  goes  on  to  notice  all  the 
news  of  our  friends  current  at  the  day,  just  as  he 
used  to  do  before  his  illness !  Colvin's  success  and 
F.  AI.  Brown's  unsuccess  at  the  Cambrido^e  election 
of  the  first  Slade  Fine  Arts  professorship,  and  his  own 
extraordinary  activity  in  painting,  having  begun  his 
"Proserpine"  five  distinct  times  on  five  canvases, 
and  having  at  last  brought  it  nearly  to  a  close,  after 
infinite  pains  making  it  his  "  best  picture."  He  has 
been  reading  Vasari,  BenvemUo  Cellini,  and  among 
new  books  Salcwiinbo,  "a  mighty  and  altogether 
new  kind  of  French  abomination,  very  wonderful 
and  unsufferable."  Besides,  he  has  eot  together  all 
the  necessary  books  for  the  purpose  of  translating 
and  editing  M.  Angelo's  poems,  which  he  is  to  set 
about  at  once  in  the  evenines. 

Here  is  this  astounding  letter  of  Burns's  with  an 
alteration  :  ,,  j  ^r    1     00 

Mauchline,  id  March  17SS. 
Mv  DEAR  AiNSLlE — I  have  been  through  sore  tribu- 
lation and  under  much  buffeting  of  the  wicked  one  since 
I  came  to  this  country.  Jean  I  found  banished  like  a 
martyr  —  forlorn,  destitute,  and  friendless — all  for  the 
good  cause.  I  have  reconciled  her  to  her  fate  ;  I  have 
reconciled  her  to  her  mother  ;  I  have  taken  her  a  room  ; 
I  have  taken  her  in  my  arms  ;  I  have  given  her  a 
mahogany  bed  ;  I  have  given  her  a  guinea,  and  I  have 
kissed  her  till  she  rejoiced  with  joy  unspeakable  and  full 
of  glory.  But — as  I  always  am  on  every  occasion — I 
have  been  prudent  and  cautious  to  an  astonishing  degree. 
I  swore  her  privately  and  solemnly  never  to  attempt  any 
claim  upon  me  as  a  husband,  even  though  anybody  should 
try  to  persuade  her  she  had  such  a  claim,  which  she  had 
not,  either  during  my  life  or  after  my  death.      She  did  all 

VOL.  II  N 

178  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

this  like  a  good  girl,  and  I  kissed  her  again  with  a 
thundering  kiss.  Oh,  what  a  peacemaker  that  is  !  It  is 
the  Mediator,  the  Guarantee,  the  Umpire,  the  Bond  of 
Union,  the  Solemn  League  and  Covenant,  the  Plenipoten- 
tiary, the  Aaron's  Rod,  the  Jacob's  Staff,  the  Prophet 
Elisha's  Pot  of  Oil,  the  Philosopher's  Stone,  the  Horn  of 
Plenty,  and  the  Tree  of  Life  between  man  and  woman. 

To  Mr.  Robert  Aixslie,  at  ^NIr.  S.  Mitchelsox,  W.S., 
Carubber's  Close,  Edinburgh. 

When  I  did  Qet  down  to  Rossetti  at  Kelmscott 
the  change  upon  him  was  a  metamorphosis  ;  it  was 
hke  a  miracle  !  A  few  months  ago  he  was  paralysed 
on  one  side  of  his  body,  and  entirely  out  of  his 
mind ;  now  he  was  perfectly  well,  painting  better 
than  ever,  and  talking  with  his  old  incision  !  Young 
George  Hake  was  still  his  wakeful  attendant,  though 
little  necessary,  and  his  father,  the  doctor  himself, 
developing  "the  ideal"  in  solitude  in  the  room 
below  at  the  rate  of  about  two  lines  a  day.  From 
the  clearing  away  of  breakfast  there  he  sat  by  the 
fire,  a  pencil  in  one  hand  and  a  folded  piece  of 
paper  in  the  other.  On  the  table  near  him  lay  a 
little  heap  of  other  pieces  of  paper,  his  failures  at 
the  improvement  of  the  same  couplet  in  various 
transformations,  sometimes  expressing  quite  different 
meanings.  The  old  gentleman  in  the  character  of  a 
poet  had  interested  all  of  us.  He  had  retired  from 
medicine  determined  to  cultivate  poetry.  And  he 
was  really  accomplishing  his  object  by  perseverance 
and  determined  study,  utterly  pooh-poohing  the 
maxim  that  if  a  man  has  not  made  a  good  poem  at 
twenty-five  he  never  will. 

D.   G.   ROSSETTI  179 

I  was  not  sanguine  in  considering  that  my  dear 
friend  now  looked  back  on  his  former  state  as  dreams. 
They  were  still  to  him  realities.  But  here  I  stop  ; 
perhaps,  indeed,  finishing  all  I  shall  have  to  say  of 
him.  The  habit  of  takinor  chloral  for  insomnia — 
the  origin  of  which  or  the  time  of  its  commencement 
I  am  ignorant  of,  but  of  which  1  observed  nothing 
at  Penkill  in  1868  or  1869 — is  fondly  credited  with 
all  his  evils  by  some  of  his  intimate  friends.  But 
these  evils  were  in  fitful  activity  very  long  ago,  and 
were  really  the  cause  of  his  resorting  to  chloral — 
not  the  effect  of  that  in  any  way. 

On  the  19th  of  April  1874  I  received  these 
words  by  post :  "  ^Iv  dear  Scotus — I  am  likely  to 
be  needing  ^200  in  a  few  days,  and  happen  un- 
luckily at  this  moment  to  be  run  rather  dry.  Could 
you  manage  to  lend  it  me  }  and  if  so,  to  oblige  me 
with  a  cheque  at  once  ^  "  Knowing  his  affairs  to  be 
prosperous  at  the  time,  I  could  not  view  this  request 
with  composure.  He  was  living  quietly  at  Kelms- 
cott  ;  but  I  came  to  the  conclusion  that  it  was  my 
duty  as  his  friend  to  keep  his  mind  easy.  Accord- 
ingly by  next  post  the  cheque  was  despatched.  By 
next  again  it  came  back  to  me  in  a  note,  saying  he 
had  "just  received  some  money,  and  he  returned 
my  cheque  no  less  thankfully  than  if  he  had  needed 
it."  He  had  by  that  time  lost  nearly  every  old 
friend  save  myself;  did  he  now  suspect  that  I  was 
among  his  enemies,  and  had  he  done  this  to  try  me  } 
I  fear  this  semi-insane  motive  was  the  true  one. 

A  very  short  time  after  he  suddenly  left  Kelms- 

I  So  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

cott  for  altOQ^ether,  havinor  crot  into  a  foundationless 
quarrel  with  some  anglers  by  the  river,  unnecessary 
to  describe.  He  sent  for  me.  I  found  him  quiet 
and  taciturn  ;  he  only  said  the  change  would  do  him 
good.  From  that  time  till  now  that  I  write  this  he 
has  lived  within  the  house,  never  going  even  into 
the  street,  never  seeing  any  one.  Holman  Hunt, 
Woolner,  and  other  artists  had  left  him  long  ago  ; 
now  Swinburne  and  Morris  were  not  to  be  seen 
there.  Even  Dr.  Hake  deserted  him,  feeling 
aggrieved  by  his  patient  and  long-suffering  son 
George  having  been  driven  away  after  several  years' 
sacrifice.  The  old  doctor  would  see  him  no  more. 
Before  his  worst  attack,  a  few  days  before  Hake 
took  him  out  to  his  house  at  Roehampton,  Brown- 
ing had  sent  him  Fijine  at  the  Fair,  which  obscure 
performance  greatly  aggravated  Rossetti's  state  of 
mind ;  he  believed  it  was  entirely  written  about 
him,  and  against  him,  all  the  innuendoes  and  in- 
sinuations being  aimed  at  him  !  Browning,  as  his 
manner  was,  had  never  acknowledged  Rossetti's 
presentation  copy  of  his  poems,  and  now  this  con- 
firmed him  to  be  among  the  enemies.  What  did  the 
book  mean  if  it  did  not  mean  what  Rossetti  said  ? 
And  in  truth  none  of  us  could  say  at  once  what 
Fifine  at  the  Fair  did  mean  !  Only  two  quite  new 
men  were  now  to  be  seen  about  him  :  one  was 
William  Sharp,  a  poet  to  be  ;  the  other  Theodore 
Watts,  who,  being  professionally  a  lawyer,  managed 
everything  for  him,  and  who  was  just  then  beginning 
to   write  criticisms   in   the   weekly    papers,    so   was 

D.    G.   ROSSETTI 

looked  upon  by  poor  D.  G.  R.  as  doubly  important. 
Happily  Watts  has  been  invaluable  since  then  in 
many  ways  :  fascinated  by  Rossetti,  ill  as  he  was,  and 
always  ready  and  able  to  serve  him.  For  myself, 
Rossetti  had  been  the  last  of  a  succession  of  men  I 
had  loved  and  tried  to  make  love  me ;  for  each  of 
them  I  could  have  given  all  but  life,  and  I  was 
again  defeated  by  destiny.  Equal  candour  and 
confidence  he  never  had  to  give,  but  now  his  singular 
manias  made  ordinary  friendly  intercourse  impossible 
to  him.  After  having  been  both  his  banker  and  his 
nurse  I  could  not  depend  upon  him  either  in  action 
or  word.  Still  I  remained  faithful  to  the  old  tie, 
and  Miss  Boyd  agreed  in  doing  so  also.  We  con- 
tinued our  occasional  visits,  either  morning  or  even- 
ing, the  only  two  of  all  his  old  circle. 



F.   M.   BROWN 

By  1873  our  permanent  settlement  at  Chelsea  had 
attained  to  a  tolerably  perfect  state  of  furnishing, 
and  in  that  year  I  was  for  the  first  time  appointed  to 
assist  in  the  examination  of  the  annual  works  of 
Schools  of  Art  at  South  Kensington.  William 
Rossetti  had  recovered  his  composure  of  mind  ;  all 
seemed  settled  into  serenity.  It  was  the  time  for  a 
long  holiday.  William  and  I  arranged  for  a  visit  to 
Rome  by  Genoa  and  Pisa,  to  take  with  us  Miss 
Boyd  (who  had  overcome  the  danger  of  having  to 
part  with  her  family  place)  and  my  wife.  Neither 
of  the  ladies  had  hitherto  been  across  the  Alps.  We 
proposed  to  go  by  Pisa,  and  return  by  Venice  and 
St.  Gothard.  At  the  last  moment  F.  M.  Brown's 
daughter  Lucy  was  added  to  our  party,  and  our 
expedition  had  a  pleasant  sequel  in  a  wedding 
celebrated  soon  after  our  return. 

F.  M,  Brown  was  one  of  the  few  men  of  genius 
I  knew,  and  I  may  here  record  some  particulars  of 
another  addition  to  his  family  circle.     To  do  this  I 

F.  HUEFFER  183 

must  go  back  a  year  or  two  and  introduce  an  amiable 
and  a  verv  charmina^  man  with  all  the  talents  of  the 
dlite  of  his  native  country  Germany,  who  appeared 
just  then  in  Brown's  circle  ;  universally  learned  and 
able  in  languages,  yet  unpretentious,  and  even  re- 
gretting the  ability  to  think  in  several  tongues  as  a 
disadvantage,  the  habit  being  a  distraction  to  a 
literary  composer.  He  had  also  some  of  the  defects 
of  the  German  nature,  at  least  as  we  think  of  it. 
With  the  determination  of  critical  thoroughness  he 
was  lazy  beyond  any  one  I  had  ever  known.  Franz 
Hueffer  was  a  youth  of  twenty-five,  but  being  un- 
seasonably stout  and  unseasonably  bald,  he  looked 
like  double  his  age  ;  and  when  he  made  love  to 
Brown's  second  and  handsome  daughter  Cathy,  who 
was  in  mind  as  well  as  body  like  a  child,  there 
seemed  a  little  discrepancy  in  the  intended  union. 
However,  he  persevered,  and  feeling  that  he  should 
have  a  profession  he  began  his  literary  career.  I 
tried  to  help  him  through  my  friend,  Mr.  .William 
Longman.  But  he  could  not  settle  himself  to  the 
continuous  hard  work  of  WTiting  a  book  ;  his  mind 
was  too  much  in  suspense,  and  he  became  the  most 
fidgety  of  white  elephants. 

Yet  it  happened  that  at  that  moment  he  rushed 
in  upon  me  visibly  in  the  happiest  frame  of  mind, 
reporting  that  he  had  got  an  offer  of  a  kind  quite  to 
his  mind  in  his  then  happy  state — an  offer  quite  to 
his  taste,  which  was  this:  he  was  to  have  ^150  a 
year  for  doing  nothing!  His  knowledge  of  both 
classic  and  modern  languages  was  coming  good  to 

1 84  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

him  ;  it  had  helped  him  to  this  !  though,  alas !  it 
did  not  help  him  to  an  understanding  of  London 
literary  life  or  business.  I  found  on  inquiry  that  he 
had  been  offered  a  directorship  in  the  management 
of  a  new  company,  h.  number  of  literary  men  had 
bought  the  plant  of  a  great  printing-office,  and 
formed  themselves  into  a  board  of  directors,  with 
salaries  of  the  sum  named,  and  had  invited  him  to 
join  them,  only  he  must  sign  the  deed  of  transfer. 
I  advised  him  to  examine  the  whole  matter  first, 
but  he  repudiated  that  troublesome  preliminary. 
They  wanted  some  other  good  names  on  their  pro- 
spectus ;  would  I  join  ? 

I  agreed  at  once  ;  we  sallied  out  to  make  in- 
quiries. We  went  first  to  the  great  printing-office, 
which  we  found  shut  up  under  sequestration  of  bank- 
ruptcy ;  then  to  my  bank,  finding  it  to  be  the  same 
named  on  their  printed  circular,  which  I  produced  to 
the  manager.  Here  I  found  the  new  company  had 
been  warned  not  to  use  the  name  of  the  bank  till 
further  proof  of  validity !  "  Now,"  said  I  to  him, 
"let's  go  to  the  meeting  (the  meeting  whereat  the 
deed  of  transfer  was  to  be  signed)  if  you  are  not  yet 
satisfied."  Thither  we  went,  to  find  the  men  who 
were  to  have  ^150  a  year  for  doing  nothing 
anxiously  waiting  in  the  empty  office  of  a.  solicitor  in 
Chancery  Lane.  I  could  scarcely  believe  my  senses 
when  I  saw  Hueffer  taking  the  pen  in  hand  to  sign  ; 
however,  I  immediately  took  the  odious  duty  of  re- 
porting where  we  had  been,  and  what  we  had  seen 
and  heard,  and  got  him  away.      Even  then  he  was 

F.   HUEFFER  185 

inclined  to  continue  in  the  delusion  that  I  had  stood 
in  his  way  to  fortune. 

I  left  to  go  down  to  Stobhall  to  take  charge  of 
my  sick  friend  when  his  wedding  came  off.  Here  is 
the  intimation  of  the  happy  occasion  : 

Fair  Lawn,  Lower  Merton, 
-i,oth  August  1872. 

My  dear  Scotus — The  above  legend,  simple  as  it 
may  appear  to  the  eye  at  first  glance,  is  for  me  the  symbol 
of  a  sea  of  past  troubles  and  tribulations.  I  daresay  you 
know  what  it  is  to  hunt  after  a  house  for  more  than  a 
fortnight,  and  afterwards  to  furnish  it ;  but  you  are 
luckily  unaware  of  the  unmitigated  misery  this  idea  con- 
veys to  a  man  who  hitherto  has  not  cared  to  know  the 
difference  between  one  piece  of  furniture  and  another. 
However !  I  have  at  last  got  landed  in  a  delightful  little 
cottage  surrounded  by  countrified  simplicities,  and  I  hope 
the  spare  bedroom — which,  by  the  way,  has  a  delightful 
view — will  soon  shelter  the  illustrious  sage,  poet,  and 
painter.  What  a  pity  you  can't  come  to  the  wedding,  my 
dearest  Scotus.  I  shall  miss  you  tremendously,  as  I  have 
always  considered  you  as  my  dearest  friend. 

So  I  am  going  to  be  "  spliced  "  next  Tuesday,  and 
offer  my  bachelor  liberty  on  the  shrine  of  matrimony,  as 
they  say.  I  wonder  what  this  clerical  operation  will  feel 
like,  which  is  to  open  the  gates  of  happiness  for  life. 
Upon  the  whole,  I  am  mystified,  and  much  more  happy 
and  contented  than  Schopenhauer  would  approve  of  But 
I  still  see  distinctly  that  the  grand  foundation  of  matri- 
monial happiness  is  the  principle  of  keeping  the  pot  boiling, 
and  with  that  view  have  enclosed  the  accompanying  letter 
[here  follow  some  business  particulars].  Goodbye,  dear 
Scotus.  With  kind  regards  to  the  fair  chatelaine  of  Penkill, 
— I  am  ever  your  devoted  friend,  F.  HUEFFER. 

A  little  while  after  his  honeymoon — only  four 
months  after  our  escape  from  getting  ^150  a  year 


for  doing  nothing — reading  the  Daily  Neivs  one  idle 
morning,  I  fortunately  observed  the  names  of  the 
directors  of  the  proposed  company  we  had  met  at 
that  seductive  gathering  in  Chancery  Lane,  in  the 
police  reports.  It  was  a  case  of  a  dozen  starving 
compositors  and  pressmen  having  the  board  of 
directors  of  a  new  printing  company  before  the 
Marylebone  magistrate  for  non-payment  of  wages  ! 
What  made  it  more  perfect  was  that  the  sitting 
magistrate  asked  the  lawyer  for  an  explanation.  "Is 
it,"  he  asked,  "  that  these  directors  divide  the  profits 
among  themselves  ?  "  whereon  the  attorney  answered 
"that  he  could  assure  his  honour  that  not  one  of  the 
directors  had  received  a  penny ! "  I  posted  the 
paper  to  my  friend  Hueffer,  with  some  chaff  and  a 
little  advice,  and  here  is  his  acknowledgment  in  the 
same  spirit.  At  the  same  moment  I  received  a  letter 
from  the  Secretary  of  the  Newcasde  Literary  Society, 
complaining  that  he  had  never  answered  an  invita- 
tion to  lecture  there  ! 

Dearest  Scotus — You  have  actually  managed  to 
bring  forward  in  the  three  pages  of  your  letter  three  dis- 
tinct charges  against  poor  me — (i)  Imprudence  ;  (2)  Un- 
punctuality  ;  (3)  Neglect  in  answering  letter.  Your 
mixing  up  with  this  broth  of  defamation  a  monstrous 
amount  of  self-praise  is,  of  course,  in  keeping  with  the  tone 
of  your  letter,  and  your  character  in  general,  is  it  not  ?  I 
have  succeeded  in  cramming  the  essence  of  my  indigna- 
tion into  the  following  verses,  which  I  hope  will  silence  you 
for  some  time  to  come  : 

There's  a  grumpy  old  Scotchman  called  Bell  Scott, 
Who  deserves  to  be  roasting  in  hell's  cot, 

F.   HUEFFER  187 

So  he  would  be,  forsooth, 
But  for  Lucifer's  tooth, 
Which  shuns  the  tough  morsel  of  Bell  Scott. 

Perhaps  you  will  think  I  have  been  assisted  by  some 
printer's  devil  of  the  "  London  Printing  and  Publishing 
Company^'  especially  as  I  still  send  kindest  regards.  Even 
under  the  blast  of  your  satire — Your  "  blooming  shrub," 

F.  H. 

I  enjoyed  this  fun  of  his,  and  asked  him  to  dine 
with  us  on  Christmas  Day.  In  answer  to  the  invita- 
tion arrived  the  following : 

Dearest  Scotus — Ever  so  sorry  we  can't  come  and 
share  your  Christmas  pudding,  but  the  fact  is,  we  have 
been  engaged  for  a  long  time  to  eat  our  dinner  en  faniillc. 
Many  thanks,  also,  for  your  forgiveness  for  my  energetic 
utterances  regarding  his  hellish  majesty's  dental  faculties. 
I  now  subjoin  another  rhyme,  which  imperfectly  expresses 
my  later  feelings  : 

There's  a  darling  old  Scotchman  called  Scotus, 
Who,  when  fear  and  repentance  had  smote  us, 

Has  nobly  forgiven — 

Sure  he  would  be  in  heaven, 
But  that  earth  cannot  spare  that  dear  Scotus. 

The  habit  of  making  satirical  rhymes  like  these 
was  an  outcome  of  the  appearance  of  Lear's  Book  of 
Nonsense.  D.  G.  R.  began  the  habit  with  us,  the 
difficulty  of  finding  a  rhyme  for  the  name  being  often 
the  sole  inducement.  Swinburne  assisted  him  and 
all  of  us  ;  and  every  day  for  a  year  or  two  they  used 
to  fly  about.  The  dearest  friends  and  most  intimate 
acquaintances  came  in  for  the  severest  treatment  ; 
but  as  truth  was  the  last  thino:  intended — thouofh 
sometimes  slyly  implied — nobody  minded.    Of  course 


I  came  in  for  a  few.  When  I  at  once  lost  all  my 
hair  after  a  severe  illness,  he  began  one  : 

There's  that  foolish  old  Scotchman  called  Scott, 
Who  thinks  he  has  hair,  but  has  not. 

Another  about  me  has  some  sense  in  it ;  indeed  I 
adopted  the  second  line  in  beginning  to  write  these 
notes,  now  extended  to  so  many  pages  : 

There's  a  foolish  old  Scotchman  called  Scotus, 
IMost  justly  a  Pictor  ignotiis. 

For  what  he  best  knew 

He  never  would  do, 
This  stubborn  donkey  called  Scotus. 

This  I  revenged  by  the  following  on  Gabriel  him- 

There's  a  painter  his  friends  call  G , 

Whose  pictures  the  public  ne'er  see  ; 
If  you  want  to  know  why, 
It's  because  he  's  so  shy 
To  show  how  funny  they  be. 

The  allusion  to  his  determination  never  to  exhibit 
did  not  please  him ;  but  he  made  one  on  himselt 
severe  enough  : 

There  is  a  poor  sneak  called  Rossetti, 
As  a  painter  with  many  kicks  met  he — 

With  more  as  a  man — 

But  sometimes  he  ran, 
And  that  saved  the  rump  of  Rossetti. 

Here  is  one  on  our  dear  learned  friend  Htiffer, 
using  a  jocular  pronunciation  of  the  name  current 
in  our  circle,  which  at  last  made  him  write  his  name 
Hueffer  : 

XI  F.  MADOX  BROWN  189 

There's  a  solid  fat  German  called  Huffer, 
Who  at  anything  funny  's  a  duffer  : 

To  proclaim  Schopenhauer 

From  the  top  of  a  tower 
Will  be  the  last  effort  of  Huffer. 

One  of  the  cleverest  I  remember  was  the 
following  : 

There's  the  Irishman  Arthur  O'Shaughnessy, 
On  the  checkboard  of  poets  a  pawn  is  he, 

Though  bishop  or  king 

Would  be  rather  the  thing 
To  the  fancy  of  Arthur  O'Shaughnessy. 

My  notice  of  our  dear  friend  Franz  Hueffer  has 
led  me  into  a  vortex  of  the  nonsense  verses  of  that 
day  which  used  to  afford  us  much  amusement  at  that 
time,  and  so  into  a  digression.  But,  indeed,  my 
whole  manuscript  is  digressive,  and  sometimes  far 
from  progressive. 

To  return  to  the  family  of  Ford  INIadox  Brown, 
of  whom  Hueffer  was  now  a  member.  F.  M.  B. 
was  one  of  the  highest  thinkers  among  the  English 
artists,  and  one  of  the  ablest  painters  ;  he  was,  in 
spite  of  singular  caprices,  one  of  the  leaders  of  the 
new  school,  and  one  much  beloved  by  many  of  us. 
Much  beloved  by  all  within  the  charmed  circle  of 
the  P.R.B.,  he  was  respected  by  all  artists,  and  by 
the  world  at  large,  holding  a  high  character,  which, 
however,  never  brought  him  fortune  nor  even  fame. 
I  have  already  given  D.  G.  R.'s  account  of  his  first 
introduction  to  Madox,  the  beginning  of  a  life- 
long friendship  ;  but  to  make  the  reader  understand 


further  what  manner  of  man  he  was,  and  why  he 
was  so  late  in  hfe  before  taking  the  position  in 
the  art-world  to  which  his  powers  entitled  him,  I 
shall  relate  another  anecdote  which  comes  into  my 
memory  at  this  moment.  In  doing  so  I  am  far 
from  laughing  at  my  friend,  and  indeed  am  conscious 
that  I  myself  might  be  accused  of  very  similar 
absurdities  in  moments  of  anger.  Be  that  as  it  may, 
the  anecdote  was  funny  enough  at  the  time. 

Mr.  Cole,  afterwards  Sir  Henry,  was  then  finish- 
ing the  central  saloon  of  the  S.  K.  Museum  by  filling 
the  top  niches  with  figures  of  great  artists,  including 
workmen  deserving  the  distinction.  Many  of  the 
artists  employed  were  entirely  unconnected  w^ith  the 
department,  and  among  others  he  invited  Madox 
Brown  to  do  one,  selecting  for  him  Julio  Clovio 
the  miniaturist.  Calling  on  my  own  affairs  a  few 
days  later,  Mr.  Cole  asked  if  my  friend  Brown  had 
gone  out  of  his  head.  On  my  replying  with  some 
surprise,  he  placed  in  my  hand  a  letter,  w^hich  I  saw 
immediately  was  in  Brown's  writing — the  absurdest 
thing  of  its  kind  I  had  ever  seen.  To  make  its 
absurdity  understood,  I  must  premise  that  the  vast 
Department  correspondence  was,  and  probably  is, 
facilitated  by  the  use  of  a  certain  size  (foolscap) 
paper,  having  printed  en  the  top  corners,  right  and 
left,  forms  containing  a  number  appropriated  to  the 
document,  and  other  directions  to  the  correspondents 
— all  this  being  printed  within  ruled  and  ornamental 
square  enclosures. 

F.   M.   B.  had  looked  at  this  half-printed  folio, 


and  not  finding  it  anything  he  understood  at  the 
first  moment,  became  furious,  read  it  wrong,  and 
repHed  in  a  moment  by  cutting  a  piece  out  of  an 
old  drawing-sheet,  making  some  grotesque  scribbles 
in  the  top  corners,  which  had  struck  Mr.  Cole  as 
examples  of  lunacy,  filling  the  paper  below  with  a 
refusal  to  do  any  such  thing  as  celebrate  any  such 
fool  as  Julio  Romano,  and  posted  his  reply  at  once. 
I  was  most  curious  to  unravel  the  mystery,  and 
took  care  not  to  be  very  long  before  calling  on 
F.  jNI.  B.,  who  seemed  quite  in  his  usual  frame  of 
mind.  "My  dear  fellow,"  I  said,  "why  did  you 
repudiate  the  invitation  to  do  one  of  the  cartoons  for 
the  Museum  ?"  The  explanation  was  just  what  I 
have  given  above,  only  he  had  mistaken  the  name, 
and  thought  they  had  selected  for  him,  not  Julio 
Clovio,  but  his  pet  hatred  among  Italian  artists,  who 
happened  to  be  Julio  Romano ! 


THE    RISING    GENERATION    IN    POETRY,     1875 

Several  new  persons  have  been  introduced  to  my 
little  drama  in  these  latter  pages  ;  there  are  more 
to  follow.  Poetry  was  the  speciality  of  them  all. 
Poets  in  outward  form  are  numerous  nowadays,  and 
the  British  Museum  abounds  with  them,  although 
verse -writing  and  publishing  proclivities  are  per- 
emptorily discouraged  by  the  heads  of  the  depart- 
ments there.  Twenty-five  years  ago  I  had  met  the 
single  poet  of  the  establishment,  Coventry  Patmore, 
and  since  then  his  sinole  successor  had  been  Richard 
Garnett.  Now  they  were  impatiently  hiding  their 
productions  at  every  desk,  poets  with  whom  new 
foT-ms  were  everything ;  French  verses,  rondels,  and 
rondeaux  being  the  perfect  thing  with  them ;  imagina- 
tion, knowledge  of  life,  insight,  and  power  of  thought, 
the  motive  or  sentiment,  were  very  well,  but  not  to 
be  had,  so  not  to  be  required,  English  heroic  verse 
was  presumed  by  them  to  be  dead  and  buried  ;  ballad 
quatrains,  blank  verse,  and  so  forth,  were  all  spoken 
of  with  contempt ;  and  Tennyson's  line  in  a  lately- 
published  poem  noting  the  danger  to  our  poetical 


literature  from  the  "poisonous  honey  brought  from 
France,"  was  the  subject  of  mild  but  endless  humour 
among  them. 

The  first  of  these  to  come  in  my  way  was  E.  W. 
Gosse,  who  introduced  himself  by  a  note  so  long  ago 
as  March  1870,  on  the  publication  of  my  Life  and 
Works  of  Albert  Dilrcr — a  book  good  for  the 
English  public  at  the  time,  but  now  antiquated  by 
the  rapidly-developed  Diirer  literature  in  Germany, 
which  has  culminated  in  the  thoroughly-studied 
Memoirs  by  Dr.  Thausing.  I  had  omitted  to  men- 
tion the  pictures  by  Patinier,  or  rather  never  had 
observed  them  in  the  National  Gallery,  and  my  new 
correspondent  pointed  them  out  to  me  and  asked 
me  whom  I  thought  they  were  by,  as  they  had  some- 
what attracted  him,  and  he  remembered  a  picture 
with  this  painter's  name  attached  to  it  in  some 
gallery  at  Antwerp.  He  apologised  for  trespassing 
on  my  time,  but  would  be  glad  to  hear  from  me. 
This  note,  dated  from  Tottenham,  associated  itself 
in  my  mind  with  an  individual  of  the  same  name  and 
address  who  had  bought  a  picture  by  me  from  the 
Hogarth  Club.  The  note  of  my  new  correspondent 
had  all  the  aplomb  of  an  amateur  of  long  standing 
intimate  with  obscure  early  masters.  It  flashed 
into  my  mind  that  here  was  my  old  friend  turning 
up  again,  and  that  perhaps  he  might  be  a  purchaser 
once  more.  I  accordingly  invited  him  to  call  upon 
me  some  day  to  inspect  my  Durer's  prints,  of  which 
I  had  already  a  formidable  collection,  and  to  talk 
over  old  German  art.      Instead  of  my  former  patron, 

VOL.  II  o 

194  ]  VILLI  AM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

the  portly  gentleman  of  middle  life,  who  should 
appear  but  a  boy  of  nineteen !  We  took  to  him, 

The  next  of  the  British  Museum  poets  who  came 
within  my  ken  was  Theodore  Marzials,  who  had 
indeed  published  a  volume,  which  he  called  The 
Gallei-y  of  Pigeons,  half  a  year  before,  marked  by 
surprising  individuality  and  imaginative  qualities, 
that  ought  to  have  given  its  author  celebrity. 
Marzials  had  previously  circulated  as  a  pamphlet 
one  of  the  poems  in  the  volume  called  Passionate 
Dozvsabella,  which  made  us  look  for  the  coming 
book  with  curiosity.  This  was  not  disappointed. 
But  he  was  of  a  restless,  nervous  nature,  rushinor 
into  elevation  or  depression  of  spirits,  and  I  have 
never  ceased  to  regret  that  the  reception  his  first 
volume  met  with  has  prevented  him  from  persever- 
ing. Among  discouraging  letters  D.G.R.'s  seemed 
to  have  hurt  him  most.  This  letter  passed  through 
my  hands,  but  I  knew  nothing  of  its  contents  till  I 
had  the  following  from  Marzials  : 

My  dear  Mr.  Scott — I  have  to  thank  you  for  so 
many  things  I  hardly  know  with  which  to  begin. — Your 
truly  kind  and  sympathetic  letter  about  my  book  I  need 
not  tell  you  how  much  I  value.  And  for  sending  me 
Rossetti's  letter — your  intention  has  so  flattered  me,  the 
deed  could  hardly  have  done  it  more.  I  mean  "  flattered" 
in  the  French  sense — delighted  and  gratified.  I  think  I 
am  right,  or  rather  was  right,  in  taking  Rossetti's  criticism 
as  a  great  kindness,  since  I  feel  that  what  he  says  is  true, 
that  my  book  is  crude  and  immature,  and,  what  to  my 
mind  is  worse,  trivial.  But  I  may  say  in  confidence  to 
yourself  that  when  one  considers  how  every  reader  of  only 


one  line  of  mine  becomes  my  critic  and  how  very  few, 
— some  half-dozen,  perhaps — there  are  in  the  world  whose 
sympathy  one  can  honestly  care  for — sympathy  for  one's 
aim,  I  mean — ^it  is  hard  to  lose  it.  Rossetti  does  not  seem 
to  see  (by  what  he  picks  out  to  admire)  what  I  am  driv- 
ing at ;  he  praises  my  imitations,  and  not  the  vie,  in  the 

On  asking  D.  G.  R.  what  he  had  said  in  the  letter 
that  had  so  hurt  a  noble  but  eccentric  man  like 
Marzials,  he  was  sorry  for  what  he  had  written. 
"But,"  he  added,  "if  work  sent  to  me  is  weak,  I 
prefer  silence  ;  but  if  it  is  not,  I  take  it  the  author 
can  only  wish  for  one's  real  opinion  either  way.  I 
have  since  dipped  Into  some  of  the  poems  again, 
with  the  same  result  as  before,  except  that  I  have 
been  even  more  struck  with  the  daintiness  and  fancy 
of  the  last  poem.  It  is  so  much  more  a  whole  than 
almost  any  of  the  others,  that  I  should  suppose  it  to 
be  the  last  written.  [This  was  a  mistake,  it  was  an 
early  one.]  I  must  say  the  first  in  the  book  seems 
about  the  worst  of  all — quite  irritating  in  its  pettiness 
and  absurdities."  Unhappily,  again,  this  was  Mar- 
zials's  last  and  best,  according  to  his  ov/n  ideas  ;  the 
one  representing  himself.  It  was  full  of  surprising 
beauties,  but  expressed  in  the  most  wilful  way. 
Rossetti's  criticism  was  not  perspicuous,  though  in  a 
measure  intelligent,  resembling  those  on  the  appear- 
ance of  Keats's  poem  Endyniion,  which  Marzials's 
workmanship  closely  resembled. 

The  third  of  the  British  Museum  youths  to  be 
mentioned  here,  but  really  the  eldest,  the  most 
accomplished,  and  the  earliest  lover  of  the  Muses— r- 

196  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

"the  last  shall  be  first" — is  Arthur  O'Shaughnessy, 
a  man  with  the  most  sensitive  temperament,  and  the 
strongest  artistic  faculty  among  them,  though  with 
less  literary  facility.  He  did  not,  however,  touch 
one  with  any  lively  interest,  although  he  had  some 
surrounding  of  admirers,  one  of  whom,  Nettleship, 
an  artist  by  determination,  in  spite  of  the  lateness 
of  his  beginning,  illustrated  his  friend's  first  volume 
wMth  remarkable  inventions  showdnsf  distinct  imao-ina- 
tive  power.  Nettleship  had  published  a  book  on 
Browning's  poetry,  an  enthusiastic  eulogium,  the 
first  evidence  that  the  difficulties  of  Browning's  style 
and  scheme  of  writing,  as  well  as  thinking,  would  at 
last  tell  in  his  favour.  The  first  time  I  met  Nettle- 
ship w'as  by  invitation,  W'ith  others,  to  inspect  a 
portfolio  of  his  drawings,  some  of  which  were  very 
extraordinary  attempts  to  represent  supernatural  and 
unrepresentable  ideas.  Two  of  these  were  life-size 
heads  of  the  Jupiter  Olympius  type,  with  the  mighty 
envelope  of  hair,  only  not  adequately  drawn  ;  one  of 
these  was  smiling  blandly,  the  other  with  great  tears 
like  solid  marbles  such  as  gods  may  shed— only  they 
never  weep — rolling  down  his  cheeks  from  closed 
eyes.  These  were,  he  said  in  a  jaunty,  off^-hand 
voice,  "  the  Almighty  rejoicing  he  had  created  the 
world,  and  the  Almighty  w^eeping  over  the  existence 
of  evil,  despite  himself."  It  was  astounding  to  find 
a  man  drawm  to  apply  himself  to  painting  dealing 
with  such  subjects  ;  one  could  not  resist  respecting 
him,  at  the  same  time  having  to  warn  him  off"  meta- 
physics, as  Thornton  Hunt  warned  myself  when   I 


told  him  I  was  reading  in  that  quasi-science,  about 
the  time  I  first  visited  his  father, 

Nettleship's  speciaHty  was  really  wild  animals. 
D.  G.  R.  gave  him  a  commission,  paying  him  well 
beforehand  ;  but  the  way  in  which  he  performed  it 
was  as  extraordinary  as  the  drawings  of  the  Creator, 
which  I  shrewdly  guessed  were  inspired  by  the 
anthropomorphism  of  Blake.  A  year  and  a  half 
after  the  commission  was  given  a  child  of  the 
"  Marchioness "  species  left  with  Mr.  Nettleship's 
compliments  a  roll  of  dirty  paper  cut  into  by  the 
string  that  tied  it  and  dog-eared  at  the  corners — a 
disreputable  roll  it  appeared,  for  I  was  present  when 
it  happened  to  arrive.  This  being  undone,  disclosed 
to  view  a  rude  water-colour  of  two  lions  lashing 
about  enormous  tails  and  grinning  at  each  other  as 
if  they  were  laughing — presumably  at  D.  G.  R.,  who 
had  commissioned  the  drawing. 

Another  aspirant  belonging  to  the  O'Shaughnessy 
choir  was  John  Payne,  an  able  man  in  various  ways, 
whose  Gallicanism  was  as  pronounced  as  that  of 
the  B.  M.  set.  It  was,  however,  independent  of 
Swinburnian  example  and  influence,  his  knowledge 
of  early  French  poetry  being  as  intimate  as  his 
acquaintance  with  Musset,  Baudelaire,  and  others 
whose  heavy  odours  charmed  those  young  men  who 
spent  their  innocent  lives  between  the  office  desk  in 
the  B.  M.  and  the  quiet  lodging  in  a  neighbouring 
street.  If  they  were  not  fast  in  practice  they  could 
at  least  be  fast  in  literary  tastes.  Another  jaunty 
tenet    they   all    held    was  aji  for  ai-f s  sake  ;    what 


matters  the  sense,  motive,  or  morals  of  a  poem,  if  it 
is  beautiful  ?  Art  above  everything  !  One  of  them 
called  the  year  of  the  Franco-German  war  (that  war 
that  changed  the  face  of  Europe,  reversed  the 
position  of  the  two  countries,  ensured  the  independ- 
ence and  unity  of  Italy,  and  broke  the  power  of  the 
Papacy)  "  the  year  when  Regnault  died."  To 
return  to  Payne.  I  thought  him  at  once  one  of  those 
who  develop.  I  do  not  mean  that  Payne  will  rise 
into  the  highest  regions  of  poetry,  but  that  he  will 
show  an  intellectual  advance  through  life,  perhaps 
even  of  a  surprising  kind. 

Entirely  unconnected  with  this  coterie,  if  I  may 
so  call  them,  there  came  within  my  knowledge  at 
this  time  several  other  men  more  worthy  of  a  leaf 
of  the  laurel — 

The  rod  of  marvellous  growth,  the  laurel  bough. 

The  first  was  perhaps  Austin  Dobson,  in  his 
nature  one  of  the  most  amiable  of  men,  and  con- 
sequently most  charming  of  friends.  By  a  natural 
bias,  however,  giving  himself  up  to  the  celebration 
of  the  eighteenth  century,  and  to  the  writing  of  vers 
dc  socu^tc\  he  is  sure  not  only  of  popularity,  but  of 
celebrity,  every  one  of  his  little  poems  being  so 
perfect  of  its  kind.  Another  was  Philip  Bourke 
Marston,  an  able  sonnet-writer  ;  a  boy  of  the  class 
we  speak  of  as  born  to  do  some  wonderful  thing, 
had  not  Providence  made  him  blind  from  his  birth. 
But  the  more  I  mention,  the  more  I  ought  to  name. 
Verse-writing  and  the  study  of  poetry,  not  only  our 


own  of  the  beginning  of  the  century,  and  of  the 
generation  now  gradually  passing  away,  but  of  the 
classic  and  the  early  poetry  of  the  world,  has  spread 
rapidly  of  late  years.  The  vast  advance  begun  by 
Wordsworth  and  Coleridge,  and  varied  by  so  many 
developments  up  to  about  1825,  has  not  ceased  for 
a  single  year.  My  own  contemporaries,  the  stars 
of  the  first  magnitude  among  whom  are  so  often 
mentioned  in  these  pages,  were  and  are  much  more 
learned  than  those  leaders  at  the  opening  of  the 
century,  and  now  at  the  present  writing,  every  little 
writer  of  yerse  is  a  more  expert  critic  than  any 
editor  of  a  century  ago.  Imagine  Coleridge  in  his 
early  little  book  publishing  a  dozen  sonnets  or  so 
under  the  name  of  Effusions  and  applying  to  Lloyd 
or  to  Charles  Lamb  for  help  to  fill  up  his  meagre 
volume.  This  increase  of  educated  ability  is  indeed 
not  confined  to  poetry,  it  has  spread  over  all  litera- 
ture, as  every  leader  in  every  penny  newspaper  can 
prove  ;  but  in  other  fields  it  is  nearly  unmixed  gain, 
while  in  poetry  the  case  is  altogether  different.  The 
more  knowing  the  aspirant  is,  the  more  imitative  he 
is,  and  the  less  he  depends  on  original  powers, 
invention,  and  knowledge  of  life.  The  form  becomes 
all-important  to  him,  and  there  is  no  form  of  verse 
native  or  exotic,  however  artificial  and  silly,  but  it 
will  find  adherents,  men  or  women  who  have  nothing 
to  say.  This  has  therefore  become  the  age  of 
literary  poets,  every  year  giving  out  innumerable 
green  i2mos,  perfectly  well  done  in  the  eyes  of 
their    authors,    but    without    vitality   or    any    raison 


d'etre.  To  be  sympathetic  human  creatures  with 
eyes  in  their  heads  and  hearts  in  their  bosoms,  to  do 
and  to  fee],  to  know  something  of  the  men  and 
women  about  them,  is  not  necessary  to  them.  What 
is  necessary  is  only  to  read  and  write  ;  reading  and 
immediately  writing  is  the  amusement,  and  in  great 
measure  the  work  of  all  of  us,  and  writing,  with- 
out something  urgently  requiring  to  be  said,  ends 
in  imitation,  restoration,  selection.  The  important 
question  becomes.  How  is  it  to  be  done  ?  Is  it  to  be 
a  sonnet  ? — Is  the  verse  to  be  anapaestic  ? — What 
will  the  schoolmaster  say  ? 

The  ladies  as  yet  have  not  come  out  so  strongly 
in  verse  as  might  have  been  expected,  considering 
the  novel-writing  powers  they  exhibit,  but  that  may 
be  because  the  publication  of  poems  is  not  very 
remunerative  ;  still  I  know  whole  households  com- 
peting with  each  other.  A  pretty  sight,  but  not  so 
safe  as  bezique  to  short  tempers,  nor  so  economical, 
if  the  desire  to  appeal  to  the  public  supervenes  as  it 
generally  does,  keeping  up  the  large  annual  amount 
of  money  thrown  to  the  printer's  devil. 

In  Dr.  Lonsdale's  honest  little  Life  of  Words- 
worth,  in  the  fourth  volume  of  the  Worthies  of 
Ctnnberland,  we  find  him  quoting  a  letter  of  the 
poet  to  Archdeacon  Wrangham,  wherein  he  says 
"  he  had  not  spent  five  shillings  on  new  books  for 
five  years."  How  would  our  numerous  decorative 
poets  of  1879  get  along  under  similar  privations, 
being  left,  in  short,  to  the  imaginative  faculties  God 
has  allotted  them  ?     This  cultivation  from  without 


has  given  us  a  new  critical  term,  whereby  to  dis- 
tinguish classes,  and  we  speak  of  the  "  Literary 
Poet,"  without  the  offence  implied  by  the  word 

This  popular  extension  of  knowledge  of  the 
forms  of  poetry  has  another  result,  altogether  satis- 
factory. If  poets  have  become  more  numerous, 
their  audience  has  still  more  greatly  extended.  The 
"  Literary  poet  "  is  the  professional  critic,  and  abetter 
informed  auditory  happily  makes  his  verdict  of  less 
effect  :  the  majority  of  his  readers  have  or  presume 
they  have  as  much  knowledge  of  the  matter  as  he 
has  himself.  Thus  we  see  The  Light  of  Asia,  and 
Lang's  Helen  of  Troy,  and  other  able  works,  have 
taken  their  important  places  without  the  presumptive 
help  of  dailies  or  weeklies,  as  far  as  I  have  observed, 
but  simply  from  their  intrinsic  value. 




Finding  an  expectation  on  the  part  of  my  friends, 
old  and  new,  that  I  would  print  my  poems  old  and 
new,  and  so  give  some  evidence  of  my  powers, 
little  or  great,  in  that  now  so  popular  art  and  mystery, 
I  began  to  think  such  a  thing  reasonable.  The 
younger  men  knew  me  only  by  hearsay  as  a  poet  at 
all,  so  I  began  preparing  the  book  ultimately  issued 
in  the  beginning  of  1875,  illustrated  by  AlmaTadema 
and  myself.  I  find  in  a  letter  from  D.  G.  R.,  about 
the  end  of  1873,  some  allusion  to  this  intended  publi- 
cation. What  I  tell  him  of  my  present  stagnation 
surprises  him,  he  says,  as  he  has  always  been  used 
to  view  me  as  beating  him  hollow  in  constant 
occupation,  which  is  much  less  his  plan  of  work 
than  mine.  However,  he  thinks  somethino:  is  cominof 
of  it  before  long. 

At  an}^  rate  such  a  moment  is  the  very  one  for  such 
a  piece  of  work  as  doing  justice  to  your  poetical  chances 
once  for  all  ;  thus  a  moment  when  regular  occupation 
is  slackened  may  be  made  quite  as  seriously  serviceable 
as  any  other  to  the  mass  of  your  life's  productiveness.      I 

CHAP.  XIII  1875    VOLUME   OF  POEMS  203 

think  there  is  no  doubt  whatever  that  the  thing-  to  do  is 
to  collect  old  and  new  poems  together.  As  to  vignettes, 
the  plan  you  name  is  much  the  prettiest  as  in  those 
Stothard  and  Turner  books  of  Rogers's,  and  would  really 
be  worth  doing,  but  liable  to  delay  matters  perhaps.  I 
think  there  is  nothing  so  uncomfortable  as  thick  separate 
plates  in  a  book  of  poetry,  which  should  be  easy  handling. 
That  last  splendid  ballad  {Lady  Janet  May  Jeaii)  should 
not  lie  idle,  but  should  be  got  out.  It  should,  I  think, 
stand  first  in  your  volume,  unless  you  think  some  pleasanter 
subject  more  attractive  to  open  with. 

Having  amused  myself  by  preparing  some 
designs,  I  held  by  the  intention  to  pubhsh  my  poems 
as  an  illustrated  book.  This  was,  I  am  sorry  to  say, 
a  mistake,  as  it  narrowed  the  number  of  buyers  very 
certainly,  and  changed  their  character.  However, 
having  set  my  affections  on  making  a  set  of  small 
etchings,  I  once  more  missed  my  aim,  lured  away 
by  another  fancy.  These  etchings  I  finished  in  the 
studio  at  Penkill  in  the  summer  of  '74,  when  Tadema 
and  his  wife,  the  amiable  Laura,  joined  our  party. 
He  was  a  little  hipped  with  hard  work,  and  wanted 
repose,  which  he  found  in  The  Old  Scotch  House 
and  its  glen  and  garden.  I  had  brought  down  with 
me  sixteen  little  plates,  and  was  etching  the  first 
one  when  he  arrived  and  made  his  first  appearance 
in  our  new  studio,  when  he  offered  to  do  some  if  I 
would  help  him  in  the  technique,  in  which  I  had 
already  in  London  given  him  a  forenoon's  lesson. 
He  went  into  the  task  in  the  most  friendly  spirit, 
working  in  his  impetuous  way  while  I  sat  with  him 
revising  the  text,  and  Laura  made  pen-and-ink 
sketches  of  us.      He  did  his  best,  but  partly  by  being 

204  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

new  to   the  process,   and    partly   by  a    difficulty   in 
understanding  poetry  in    English, — and  to  say  the 
truth,  I  was  never  sure  that  he  quite  made  out  what 
any  of  the  poems  was  about, — his  aid  was  not  so 
efficient  as  it  might  have  been  ;  and  alas,  my  amiable 
critics    attributed    the    appearance    of    that    highly 
popular  artist  in  my  book  to  a  desire  on  my  part  to 
bolster  up  my  now  inadequate  powers  of  pleasing. 
At  the  eleventh  hour  also   I   conceived  the  idea  of 
makinof  the  book  record  mv  attachment  to  the  three 
friends  with  whom  I  had  been  for  some  years  most 
intimate,  and  with  whose  poetical   successes   I   had 
most  sympathy  ;  and  to  do  this  I  added  a  dedicatory 
sonnet  at  the  end,  inscribed  to  Swinburne,  Rossetti, 
and  Morris,  which  was  similarly  interpreted.     To  say 
the  truth,  I  printed  this  sonnet  in  a  purely  friendly  spirit, 
and  not  by  any  means  to  imply  any  inferiority  either 
poetically  or  socially,  but  to  express  the  fact  that  I 
had  published  nothing  for  upwards  of  twenty  years. 
But  it  pleased  my  critics  to  understand  it  differently. 
The   helpful   Tadema   was    not   long    about    his 
friendly  aid  ;  his  health,   too,  was  quickly  restored, 
and  he  became  the  loudest  and  most  overpowering 
of  housemates.      It  was   of  as  little  use  to  protest 
against  his   robustness  as  to  advise  him   about  his 
designs  ;  his  vigour  became  boundless,  and  his  good 
humour  endless.      He  was  up  long  before  anybody 
else  in   the   house,  was   heard  struggling  with    the 
great  door,  and  after  a  cessation  of  all  sound  for  half 
an   hour   or  so,   during  which   he   had   had  a   bath 
under  a  waterfall   twenty   feet  high,   his  voice  was 

ALJl/A    TADEMA  205 

heard  calling  on  his  wife  and  every  other  person  to 
look  alive.  I  suppose  this  was  his  habit  at  home. 
In  the  evening  we  finished  up  by  whist,  which  he 
now  played  for  the  first  time  in  his  life,  though  he  soon 
began  to  lay  down  the  law  to  the  others,  who  knew 
the  game  pretty  well.  He  made  a  number  of  rapid 
little  pictures,  leaving  a  space  for  the  figure  which 
was  to  give  them  value  ;  and  the  certainty  of  hand 
so  exhibited,  and  the  unerring  instinct,  w^ere  delightful 
to  see. 

I  call  it  instinct,  because  Tadema  really  does 
fortunate  things  in  his  works  without  consciously 
intending  them  beforehand.  Such  is  the  artist  by 
nature,  nascitur  non  Jit,  endowed  with  another  sense 
as  it  were.  A  sound  mind  in  a  sound  body,  troubled 
by  no  metaphysic,  believing  in  no  intellect  or  more 
soul  than  can  look  out  of  the  actor's  eyes,  he  is  the 
most  successful  man  in  the  world,  and  in  some  sense 
the  happiest.  A  functionary  for  all  the  world  and 
for  all  times  alike  is  the  painter,  the  giver  of  pleasure 
to  those  to  whom  thinking  is  repulsive.  This  sphere, 
that  of  representing  life  by  externals,  is  narrowed 
the  more  our  education  advances.  The  more  scien- 
tific and  analytical  our  education  becomes,  common 
life  conforms  the  more  to  great  regularity  of  habit, 
rejecting  on  the  one  hand  ideals,  on  the  other 
picturesqueness,  in  both  of  which  the  painter 
deliohts.  These  are  left  at  last  to  him  to  deal  with 
only  on  canvas. 

When  the  Tademas  left  Penkill,  Miss  Boyd  and 
I  accompanied  them  to  Edinburgh.      He  was  greatly 

2o6  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

pleased  with  some  of  the  pictures  in  the  National 
Gallery  there,  especially  those  by  living  artists  of 
the  Scottish  School.  Noel  Paton's  "  Oberon  and 
Titania,"  and  George  Harvey's  ''Columbus,"  on  the 
first  sio-ht  of  the  New  Continent  at  the  moment  of 
revolt  among  his  marines,  pleased  him  immensely. 
This  last  picture  represented  Columbus,  not  as  a 
splendid,  heroical  Guy,  but  as  buff-coated  manhood, 
hardy  enough  for  anything.  Sir  G.  Harvey  was 
one  of  my  oldest  friends,  and  Sir  Noel  Paton  one  of 
my  newest,  so  we  called  upon  both.  The  first  was 
then  President  of  the  R.  S.  A.  We  found  him 
broken  down  by  long  illness,  but  still  genial  and 
pleasant ;  the  other  was  absent  from  town.  We 
also  visited  James  Ballantine,  who  had  sat  beside  me 
drawing  from  the  antique  forty-five  years  ago,  and 
who  had  also  attained  now  an  ample  material  success, 
visible  in  the  carriage  standing  at  his  door,  in  which 
he  had  just  returned  from  church,  the  day  being 
Sunday.  When  I  introduced  Taclema,  it  was  evident 
Ballantine  had  never  heard  of  him,  which  macie  the 
visit  not  so  great  a  success  as  it  might  have  been, 
but  this  faux  pas  over,  we  stayed  and  lunched,  the 
addition  of  four  guests  not  incommoding  the  ample 
family  table.  These  two  visits  I  was  afterwards  truly 
glad  to  have  accomplished,  if  even  in  an  accidental 
way  ;  very  shortly  afterwards  both  of  my  old  friends 
died.  Both  of  them  were  men,  not  simulacra  of 
men  ;  they  had  taken  a  strong  grip  of  life  as  well  as 
of  art  in  their  several  ways.  Harvey's  Covenanter 
pictures  showed   his   conscientious  sympathies,  and 

ALJ/A    TAD  EM  A  207 

opened  a  new  page  of  history  which  his  audience 
throughout  Scotland  thoroughly  rejoiced  in  ;  and 
Ballantine,,  in  the  Gaberlimzie  s  Wallet,  which  Lord 
Cockburn  says  in  his  Life  of  Jcffi'ey,  "  Robert  Burns 
would  not  have  been  anxious  to  disown,"  added  to 
the  literature  of  the  country. 

We  parted  from  Tadema  and  his  dear  wife  at 
the  railway,  they  taking  their  places  to  Newcastle  to 
visit  my  friend,  James  Leathart,  and  see  his  collec- 
tion, and  we  returning  to  Penkill.  The  next  day 
took  place  that  singular  dynamite  explosion  on  board 
a  boat  on  the  Regent's  Canal  opposite  their  house. 
The  boat  was  lying  under  a  stone  bridge,  which  was 
blown  utterly  out  of  existence,  and  the  line  of  houses, 
of  which  Tadema's  was  one,  were  all  more  or  less 
WTecked  and  shattered.  This  house  had  employed 
his  powers  of  ornament  for  a  number  of  years,  and 
had  gradually  been  transformed  from  an  ordinary 
citizen's  habitation  into  a  sort  of  miniature  palace,  or  if 
you  like  it  better,  a  "  make-up  of  trumpery,"  as  G.  E. 
Street  characterised  it  when  called  into  consultation 
as  to  its  repair.  Here  is  the  note  in  which  Tadema 
informs  us  of  his  misfortune,  which,  however,  does 
not  prevent  his  trying  his  powers  at  punning  on  my 
initials  W.  B. 

TowNSEND  House,  ^th  October  1874. 

My  dear  Bubble-you-D — I  am  sure  you  and  Miss 
Boyd  especially  must  be  anxious  to  hear  from  us.  How 
conceited  this  sounds  ;  but  never  mind,  I  am'  conceited 
and  half-ruined.  Not  in  health,  you  know,  as  Miss  Boyd's 
and  my  nymph's  hospitality  [the  nymph  of  the  waterfall 
where   he   took   his  morning   bath]  have  saved  me  in  that 

2o8  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

way,  but  in  material  possessions.  Luckily  bones  and 
pictures  arc  safe,  though  doors  and  windows  and  roof  are 
gone.  We  received  the  news  in  Newcastle,  where  we 
enjoyed  your  friend's  hospitality.  We  enjoyed  the  castle 
too  and  Durham,  which  is  nice,  but  not  paintably  so. 

The  mob  here  is  mad,  for  they  all  sing  the  new  song 
of  the  "  Poor  Creatures  of  the  Explosion "  of  Regent 
Park.  Thousands  of  people  come  and  go ;  cabs  and 
carriages  without  end.  We  are  rather  badly  housed,  as 
every  door  and  window  is  barred  with  boards.  The 
children  are  at  Devonshire  Street,  and  the  governess 
brings  them  every  morning  to  stop  the  day  with  us.  The 
scene  of  desolation  is  a  very  wide  one,  the  disaster  ex- 
tending at  least  for  several  miles.  How  we  are  not  more 
hurt  I  cannot  understand.  Of  course  our  blue  china  is 
singularly  diminished.  The  ceilings  are  dropping,  and 
marked  a  great  deal.  And  now  I  will  direct  this  to  Miss 
Boyd  in  case  you  are  gone  ;  that  kind  lady  will  have 
news  of  us  at  least. — Ever  yours,  L.  A.  T. 

Mrs.  Tadema  appended  a  nice  little  note  : 

I  must  squeeze  in  a  few  words  to  say,  dear  Miss  B., 
that  really  our  delightful  visit  to  your  castle  has  made  my 
husband  so  strong  and  well  able  to  endure  our  sad  trouble. 
It  would  have  been  too  much  for  him  two  months  ago. — 
So  much  love  and  so  many  thanks  from  yours  affection- 
ately, Laura. 

My  volume  of  poems,  with  etchings  by  myself 
and  four  by  Tadema,  was  published  in  1875.  Its 
Dedicatio  Postica  to  the  three  poets  and  most  in- 
timate friends  mentioned  so  often  in  these  pages 
brought  them  to  me  in  a  way  curiously  characteristic 
of  each.  Rossetti  wrote  me  at  once,  with  much 
earnestness,  showing  a  careful  perusal,  pointing  out 
critically  things  good  and  bad  and  such  poems  as  he 

XIII  1 875    VOLUME   OF  POEMS  209 

most  esteemed.  The  letter  is  dated  from  1 6  Cheyne 
Walk,  3rd  May  1875.  To  make  his  amusing  com- 
mentary on  the  dedicatory  verses  fully  intelligible,  I 
had  better  copy  the  sonnet  here  : 


Now  many  years  ago  in  life's  midday, 

I  laid  the  pen  aside  and  rested  still. 

Like  one  barefooted  on  a  shingly  hill : 
Three  poets  then  came  past,  each  young  as  May, 
Year  after  year  upon  their  upward  way, 

And  each  one  reached  his  hand  out  as  he  passed. 

And  over  me  his  friendship's  mantle  cast. 
And  went  on  singing  every  one  his  lay. 

Which  was  the  earliest  ?      Methinks  'twas  he 

Who  from  the  Southern  laurels  fresh  leaves  brought, 

Then  he  who  from  the  North  learned  Scaldic  power, 
And  last  the  youngest,  with  the  rainbow  wrought 
About  his  head,  a  symbol  and  a  dower — 
But  I  can't  choose  between  these  brethren  three. 

From   D.  G.  R. 

My  dear  Scott — I  have  got  into  a  habit  of  ac- 
knowledging welcome  poetry  by  letter,  which  should  not 
be  foregone  because  we  are  likely  soon  to  be  meeting. 
Your  book  is  welcome  and  goodly  beyond  others — the 
real  result  of  native  unforced  powers,  struggling  manfully 
and  successfully  through  every  fissure  of  a  rocky  life.  I 
have  read  old  and  new  with  equal  pleasure,  and  I  had  no 
idea  till  now  (when  the  whole  spread  before  one  gives  a 
clear  view)  of  what  extraordinary  beauty  exists  in  some 
of  your  earliest  pieces,  even  when  open  to  fault-finding. 
The  Ode  to  Keats  is  well  worthy  of  him  ;  that  to  She/ley 
second  to  it,  but   still   good  ;   the   Fable  is  a  little  master- 

VOL.  II  P 


piece  in  its  way,  and  the  piece  called  Midnight  admirable, 
though  here  I  recognise  (perhaps)  its  finest  passage  as  an 
addition.  The  Four  Acts  of  St.  CutJibcrt  delighted  me 
greatly  on  re-reading.  All  these  pieces  are  replete  with 
wellbeing,  clear-breathing  youth  ;  one  is  glad  to  see  such 
work  not  lost  at  last.  I  never  knew  that  AntJiony  be- 
longed to  the  same  early  period.  It  is  among  your  finest 
things,  in  spite  of  an  unkempt  quality  which  (as  it  seems 
to  me)  might  easily  have  been  called  to  order.  This  same 
matter,  I  must  confess,  disturbs  me  somewhat  throughout 
the  volume,  though  much  less  in  the  sonnets  and  other  sus- 
tained metres  than  where  greater  irregularity  of  structure 
requires  one  to  keep  one's  eye  on  the  ruts,  and  guard  against 
a  jolt.  When  you  come  to  a  second  edition  I  should  like, 
if  you  thought  it  worth  while,  to  glance  with  you  over  my 
copy,  in  which  I  have  marked  some  of  the  more  decided 
instances.  A  trifle  here  and  there  might  be  registered  as 
actual  errata.  .  .  .  Many  alterations  in  old  poems  seem 
to  me  questionable — more  than  questionable  some  of 
those  in  Morning  Sleep  and  the  Monody,  the  former  of 
which  I  think  much  injured.  Of  the  "  Studies  from 
Nature "  the  finest  are  Midnight  and  S?mday  Morning 
Alone,  the  latter  not  to  be  surpassed  in  its  way.  The 
Dukes  Funeral  is  quite  equal  on  its  own  grounds,  though 
necessarily  less  poetical.  The  Requiem  too  must  not  be 
forgotten,  and  here  the  changes  seem  beneficial.  .  .  . 
Among  the  Ballads  the  one  which,  to  my  mind,  stands  out 
from  all  the  others  as  a  very  piece  of  your  Scotchest  self, 
is  the  Witch's  Ballad.  This  I  admired  absolutely  from 
the  first,  and  I  believe  it  is  now  even  better.  There  is 
here  a  truer  sum  of  the  quintessential  qualities  which 
really  make  Burns's  humour  what  it  is,  than  could  be  found 
in  any  direct  follower  of  his  ;  and  the  much  that  there  is 
besides  makes  the  piece  utterly  your  own,  and  I  suspect 
unique  in  the  language.  Lady  Janet  May  Jean  strikes  me 
as  things  do  when  they  are  intricate  in  their  nature,  and 
have  never  before  been  seen  properly,  but  only  heard  or 
hastily   deciphered   in    MS.      I   think   it  could  hardly  be 

1 875    VOLUME   OF  POEMS 

understood  at  a  first  reading,  if  thoroughly  even  at  a  last  ; 
but  I  fancy  if  some  decisive  explanatory  touches — putting 
the  reader  on  the  track  of  the  dream -structure  of  the 
poem — were  introduced  with  a  firm  hand  in  one  or  two 
stanzas  following  stanza  i,  and  some  slight  alterations 
(which  melody  as  well  as  clearness  renders  most  advisable) 
made  here  and  there  throughout,  this  objection  might  be 
removed.  [Here  follows  much  analytical  criticism  of 
great  value  to  me  if  I  ever  print  the  poem  again.]  I  see 
I  have  been  dwelling  at  some  length  on — I  will  not  say 
objections,  but  critical  impeachments  not  passing  the 
point  of  query.  You  know  what  I  think  of  the  vigour 
and  originality  of  the  theme  and  its  treatment,  and  of 
the  extraordinary  beauty  of  many  among  the  varied 

Among  the  Sonnets  the  speculative  ones  are  still,  on 
the  whole,  the  finest,  I  think,  and  probably  are  unrivalled 
on  their  own  ground.  I  must  not  forget  the  Dedicatio 
Postica,  an  adjective,  by  the  bye,  on  which  Latinity  seems 
to  cast  a  rather  lurid  light !  Regarding  this  sonnet  I 
would  almost  venture  to  suggest  that  line  9  appears 
hardly  in  a  final  state.  If  chronological  doubt  hovers 
round  its  subject,  I  think  that — 

Who  earliest  ?     I  should  rather  think  'twas  he,  etc., 

or  else — 

Who  earliest  ?     On  the  whole  perhaps  'twas  he,  etc., 

might  be  a  racier  form  ;  but  if,  on  the  other  hand,  some 
certainty  could  be  arrived  at,  it  might  even  be  safe  to  say — 

Who  earliest  ?     By  nine  years  or  so,  'twas  he,  etc., 

only  it  is  true  that  thus  the  initials  of  the  heading  would 
seem  rather  out  of  their  natural  sequence. 

Pardon  a  moment's  chaff,  my  dear  Scotus.  Thanks 
warmly  for  my  share  in  your  generous  dedication — as 
good  a  title  to  goodwill  assuredly,  as  my  poor  memory 
will  have  to  show — and  one  which  you  have  bestowed  at 


the  pretty  certain  risk  of  some  responsive  bespatterings 
from  the  scavengers  of  the  /r^j-j'-gang.  However,  yours 
is  a  book  which  has  its  place,  and  cannot  be  robbed  of 
it. — Ever  affectionately  yours,  D.  G.  ROSSETTI. 

I  had,  indeed,  somehow  or  other  placed  the 
initials  of  the  youngest  (A.  C.  S.)  first,  and  so  given 
rise  to  this  last  reflection.  Swinburne  was  in  bed 
when  the  book  reached  him,  by  the  hand  of  a 
friend,  who  found  him  unwell.  In  a  few  hours, 
however,  his  cab  drives  up  at  my  house,  and  I  hear 
his  voice  on  the  stairs  :  "  Where  is  he  ?  Let  me 
see  him.  I  want  to  speak  to  him  at  once."  I  was 
unwell  myself,  lying  on  two  chairs  in  the  library, 
when  in  rushes  Swinburne.  "Tell  me  now,  mon 
c/ier,  tell  me  exactly  what  you  alluded  to  as  the 
rainbow  wrought  about  my  head  ! "  "  Well,"  I 
said,  "  you  know  you  are  hailing  in  the  new  time 
hopefully ;  you  are  assisting  the  advent  of  the 
brighter  day ;  you  are  wTiting  Songs  before  Szm- 
riseT  "Ah  !  is  that  all  ?  I  was  in  hopes  you  meant 
the  glory  of  my  hair,  that  used  to  be  so  splendid, 
you  know !  " 

The  last  of  the  three,  William  Morris,  was  in 
no  such  hurry,  but  after  a  few  days  came  the  fol- 
lowing : 

HoRRiNGTON  HousE,  bth  JSIiiy  1875. 

My  dear  Scott — I  must  ask  you  to  forgive  me  for 
letting  a  week  go  by  without  taking  any  notice  of  the 
gift  of  your  book  ;  but  I  do  think  you  remember  that  I 
am  a  bad  letter-writer  even  on  ordinary  matters,  and  often 
on  extraordinary  ones  a  helpless  shamefacedness  holds 
me  back  till  I  find   I   have  committed  an   act  of  rudeness 

1 875    VOLUME   OF  POEMS  213 

as  now,  which  I  am  very  far  from  meaning.  I  trust 
to  your  good  nature  to  understand  that,  and  to  for- 
give me. 

I  was  very  glad  to  see  your  book,  with  the  poems 
that  I  first  found  so  sympathetic  when  I  came  up  to 
London  years  ago,  when  I  was  pretty  much  a  boy  ;  and 
also  that  there  were  others  that  seemed  to  me  as  good, 
of  which  I  have  heard  nothing  meanwhile.  Pray  believe 
that  I  was  touched  and  delighted  by  the  affectionate 
inscription  in  the  beginning,  and  though  not  more  so  (in 
some  sense)  by  my  share  of  the  dedication  at  the  end, 
yet  as  much,  amidst  my  surprise  at  the  honour  of  it  ;  for 
indeed,  I  did  not  suppose  you  would  have  put  me  in  the 
same  place  with  A.  C.  S.  and  D.  G.  R.,  both  of  whom  I 
consider  for  the  most  part  as  "  passed  masters  "  over  me  in 
the  art. 

I  am  sorry  we  have  seen  but  little  of  each  other  for 
so  long.  I  was  thinking  of  coming  in  one  morning  next 
week  to  see  if  you  would  come  over  here  some  evening 
soon,  and  meet  Ned  Jones.  I  was  very  vexed  that  my 
Welsh  engagement  kept  me  from  coming  to  you  that 
evening  you  asked  me.  .  .  .  With  hearty  thanks  for  your 
book  and  its  dedication. — I  am,  yours  affectionately, 

William  Morris. 

Having  thus  recommenced  quoting  the  letters 
of  friends,  I  may  add  something  of  an  interesting 
one  Rossetti  wrote  to  Miss  Boyd  half  a  year  later 
from  Bognor,  where  he  was  living  under  the  care 
of  George  Hake  and  Theo.  Watts  in  a  state  of 
health  which  has  been  represented  to  me  by  these 
gentlemen  as  even  alarming,  but  of  which  there 
appears  not  the  slightest  symptom  in  the  letter, 
which  was  dated  at  Aldwick  Lodge,  Bognor, 
Sussex,  3rd  November  1875.  They  had  been  for 
some  little  time  here,  he  says,  hitherto  chiefly  idle 


after  i^etting  through  a  new  picture  in  London.      He 
has   taken    the    house    they   are    inhabiting    for   an 
indefinite  time,  and  will  possibly  keep  it  till  the  end 
of  the  year.      It  is  within  one  minute's  walk  of  the 
sea-beach,  which   is    a  fine   one ;    the  sands  like  a 
carpet  at  low  water ;   and  he  has  been  meaning  to 
write  Miss  Boyd  a  line  ever  since  he  had  an  oppor- 
tunity  of  showing   her    picture   of  "  Taliessen "  to 
his    friends    in    London,    who    admired    it    greatly. 
(This   picture   of  Al's,   her  ckef  d'oeuvre   perhaps, 
had    been    sent    to    the    studio    from    the     Dudley 
Gallery,   where    it  was   exhibited.       It   represented 
the  tradition  of  the  Welsh  bard  hearing  his  deceased 
master's   harp   playing  by  itself  as  it  hung  on  the 
wall.)      Of  course    Rossetti   reckons   on   going  on 
with    his    work    here,    getting    both    the    "  Venus 
Astarte "   done,   and    the    "  Blessed    Damozel,"   for 
Mr.  Graham.      His  delay  in  leaving  town  had  had 
the  good  result  of  keeping  him  for  a  visit  from  an 
appreciative  amateur,  who  had  given  him  the  com- 
mission for  this  "Venus   Astarte,"  at  the  price  of 
2000  guineas,  so  that  he  starts  fair  with  the  paint- 
ing.     He  is,  however,  first  finishing  a  new  work  for 
Mr.  Leyland,  from  Coleridge's  lines — 

A  damsel  with  a  dulcimer 
In  a  vision  once  I  saw. 

As  to  poetry,  it  seemed  to  have  fied  from  him, 
and  indeed  "  it  has  no  such  nourishing  savour  about 
it  as  painting  can  boast  of,  but  is  rather  a  hungry 
affair  to  follow."     Nevertheless  he  means  to  write 

XIII  LETTER  FROM  D.    G.    ROSSETT!  215 

some  more  poems  yet,  and  good  ones  too.  He 
says  he  was  greatly  pleased  to  hear  from  INIoncure 
Conway  that  the  Yankees  have  got  an  edition  of 
W.  B.  S.  as  well  as  the  Britons,  and  asks  if  they 
have  adopted  the  etchings  also.  (This  was  a  mis- 
take, I  am  sorry  to  say.  There  was  no  American 
edition  of  my  poems.)  Towards  the  end  of  his 
letter  he  says  he  has  sat  with  poised  pen  for  a 
minute  or  two,  thinking  whether  more  news  were 
in  the  air  or  not ;  but  no  breath  responds.  They 
see  one,  and  when  they  do  they  learn 
nothing  worth  report.  He  will  take  much  interest 
one  day  seeing  Miss  Boyd's  portrait  of  Scotus, 
"  Poor  Maggie  "  (his  sister  Maria,  who  was  then 
entering  an  Anglican  Sisterhood,  and  who  died 
about  a  year  and  a  half  later)  "  is  parting  with  her 
grayish  hair  next  Sunday,  and  annexing  the  kingdom 
of  heaven  for  good." 

In  a  postscript,  nevertheless,  he  says  he  is  forced 
to  reopen  his  letter  to  tell  what  he  designates  a 
wondrous  tale.  Some  four  years  ago  G.  F.  Watts 
(R.A.)  painted  a  head  of  him  for  v/hich  he  only 
gave  that  artist  two  sittings,  and  which  remained 
unfinished.  His  impression  of  it  was  appalling, 
though  possibly  from  the  exactness  of  its  likeness, 
and  people  have  ever  since  kept  telling  him  it  was 
horrible.  Accordingly  he  executed  a  cottp  de  main. 
He  finished  a  spare  chalk  drawing,  and  sent  Dunn 
with  it  to  Little  Holland  House,  sending  also  a 
note  saying  that  he  should  be  very  much  obliged 
if  Watts  would  make  an  exchange,  as  he  wanted  the 

2i6  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

picture,  not  for  himself;  and  that  the  bearer  would 
call  next  day  at  same  time  for  it  to  save  trouble. 
"This  resulted,"  he  continues,  "in  my  getting  the 
picture  next  day,  though  Watts's  note  with  it 
showed  plainly  that  it  was  even  as  a  tooth  out  of 
his  jaws.  Now  that  I  have  got  it,  I  really  think 
it  very  fine,  and  am  quite  ashamed  to  have  played 
him  such  a  trick. — D.  G.  R." 

After  our  return  to  town  in  1875,  the  Tademas 
left  for  Rome,  whence  he  wrote  me  some  letters 
amusing  and  interesting  in  some  degree,  and  filled 
with  the  exuberant  spirits  that  distinguished  him- 
self. He  was  now  elected  an  Associate  of  the  Royal 
Academy,  and  in  reply  to  my  congratulation  says, 
"Of  course  for  the  honour  I  feel  greatly  obliged, 
but  I  feel  more  so  when  friends  tell  me  they  believe 
in  the  schools  there  my  experience  can  be  of  some 
use  for  the  coming  generation."  This  he  has  cer- 
tainly proved.  His  mastery  over  the  difficulties  of 
art  is  greater  than  that  of  any  other  man  I  have 
known.  His  command  over  the  palette  is  like  a 
miracle,  yet  his  powers  only  give  him  pleasure  when 
extrinsic  evidences  are  awarded  him.  Now  he 
could  make  a  necklet  of  orders  and  crosses  for  his 
wife,  and  still  wants  more.  The  other  men  of  great 
power  in  art  I  have  known  have  never  thought  in 
this  way.  One  day  I  asked  Burne-Jones  if  he  had 
been  awarded  a  Medaille  d' Honnciir,  as  I  had  heard. 
His  reply  was:  "What  does  it  matter,  my  dear 
Scotus,  whether  they  give  one  a  medal  or  not,  if  one 
can't  do  what  one  tries  or  wishes  to  do ;  and  I  can 


only  come  near  what   I    wish,  and  am  unhappy  in 

Thinking  over  this  and  other  observations,  all 
going  to  prove  how  much  we  inherit  our  mental  and 
moral  individualities,  and  following  out  this  train  of 
thought,  I  may  add  my  conviction  that  it  is  essentially 
vain  for  the  most  of  us  to  labour  to  accomplish  what 
we  cannot  do  by  natural  endowment ;  in  short,  to 
aspire  after  artistic  excellences  as  objects  of  ambition. 
Anything  really  worth  doing  in  the  arts,  including 
poetry,  must  be  in  absolute  harmony  with  ourselves, 
and  come  easy  to  us.  I  remember  Tadema  passing 
sentence  on  an  aspirant  highly  recommended  to  him. 
On  my  asking  him  why  he  thought  he  would  never 
do  great  things,  "  Because,"  he  replied,  "he  had  no 
awe  of  me,  showing  he  had  no  respect  for  art."  This 
was  the  moral  aspect  of  the  same  question.  I  must 
say,  I  have  always  from  the  first  seen  what  every 
one  of  my  acquaintances  would  or  could  do,  and,  if 
he  lived  for  a  thousand  years,  would  continue  to  do. 
In  the  spirit  of  his  work,  I  mean — the  essentials. 
"  Diligence  and  perseverance  accomplish  every- 
thing," as  Reynolds  says;  but  I  would  add,  "in 
what  can  be  acquired "  ;  they  ensure  comparative 
success,  and  a  good  share  of  turtle  soup ;  they  fill 
professorships  and  academies  ;  but  if  any  whose  en- 
dowments are  these,  and  no  other,  is  troubled  by 
"  the  last  infirmity  of  noble  minds,"  he  will  find  they 
do  nothing  for  him.  Time  will  most  certainly  dis- 
close the  difference  between  the  real  and  the  automatic, 
between  inherited  and  acquired  mental  possessions. 

2i8  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

This  conviction  of  the  ultimate  uselessness  of 
endeavouring  to  do  greater  things  than  one  is  bound 
to  do — of  learning  and  acquiring  from  without  by 
ambitious  labour — is  detrimental  to  success  in  life, 
of  course  ;  it  is  a  great  hindrance,  it  makes  a  man 
more  a  spectator  than  an  actor,  especially  if  he  is 
indifferent  to  the  vox  popnli.  But  the  part  of 
spectator,  however  pleasant,  is  dangerous  besides. 
Bacon  has  said  that  in  this  universe  of  life  "  it  is 
only  for  God  and  His  angels  to  be  spectators  "  ;  and 
in  all  that  conduces  to  material  well-being,  or  to  the 
fulfilment  of  a  man's  duties  to  the  world  or  to  his 
family,  he  may  be  clearly  right — diligence  and  per- 
severance being  the  wings  that  carry  us  forward  in 
all  improvement ;  and  what  would  come  of  history 
without  the  continuous  advancement  in  civilisation  ? 
But  confining  myself  to  personality,  I  have  another 
conviction,  resulting  from  temperament,  no  doubt, 
which  makes  me  question  Bacon's  aphorism,  and  limits 
my  respect  for  perseverance  in  one  exclusive  path. 

This  other  practical  virtue  I  would  discredit,  or 
rather  limit,  in  the  conduct  of  life  is  not  persever- 
ance pure  and  simple,  but  that  negative  kind  of  it 
constantly  recommended  under  the  form  of  the  pro- 
verb, "  Let  the  shoemaker  stick  to  his  last," — the 
avoidance,  in  short,  of  dispersing  one's  forces  by 
following  various  attractions.  If  the  shoemaker 
sticks  to  his  last  he  may,  it  is  to  be  hoped,  make 
good  shoes  ;  but  will  he,  after  all,  make  the  best 
possible  shoes  ?  Further,  if  he  never  tires  of  his 
last,  his  soul  must  have  had  originally,  or  must  have 


contracted,  some  affinity  with  it — must  be  more  or 
less  a  foot-shaped  and  Hgneous  soul,  and  what  can 
come  of  that  ?  To  all  his  eternity — that  is  to  the 
end  of  his  consciousness — he  will  be  nothing  but  a 
shoemaker.  So  it  is  with  all  specialists.  If  shoes  are 
wanted  in  the  world  where  all  are  spectators,  he  will 
be  welcome.  But  possibly  the  angel-spectators  may 
not  need  shoes,  and  in  that  case  will  not  care  about 
the  society  of  the  man  who  has  exclusively  stuck  to 
his  last.  Perhaps  the  spectator  class  here  below  are 
qualifying  themselves  to  become  angels  !  The  clever 
practical  fellows  about  us  generally  hate  reflection, 
which  is  the  food  of  the  spectator.  Thoreau  the 
American,  we  are  told,  invented  or  perfected  some 
valuable  improvement  in  the  trade  to  which  he  was 
apprenticed.  Thereupon  all  his  friends  said,  "  Now 
Thoreau  will  make  his  fortune";  but  Thoreau  said 
to  himself,  "  Now  I  leave  this  manufacture  off:  I  have 
done  all  that  can  be  made  of  it  :  I  need  not  do  the 
same  thing  over  again,"  or  something  to  that  effect. 
He  would  not  go  round  and  round.  None  of  us  have 
too  much  time  for  culture  and  discipline  ;  he  turned 
to  cogitation  and  found  his  life  more  harmonious. 

It  is  this  sticking  to  the  last,  this  limitation,  that 
makes  a  strong  man  within  a  narrow  sphere  :  the 
smith's  arm  is  strong,  but  then  it  is  the  strongest  part 
of  him,  and  he  is  a  hireling,  a  poor  devil,  whatever 
amount  of  money  he  may  accumulate,  and  though  he 
is  made  baronet  or  lord.  What  if  our  performance,  by 
concentration  of  our  abilities,  is  the  best  that  can  be 
done  in  that  way  ?    Is  the  performer  wiser,  better,  or 

WILLIAM  BELL  SCOTT  chap,  xiii 

more  beautiful  ?  Yet  common  prudence  is  always 
howling  against  turning  from  one  study  to  another,  from 
one  love  to  another,  from  one  form  of  art  to  another. 
It  may  be  few  can  do  this  without  losing  their  way, 
coming  to  grief;  it  requires  tact  to  hold  half  a  dozen 
lines  without  allowing  them  to  tangle,  or  to  ride  six 
horses  as  they  do  in  the  circus.  Trying  to  sit  on 
two  stools  is  thought  to  be  likely  to  land  one  on  the 
ground  ;  and  I  am  far  from  supposing  that  a  certain 
amount  of  success  is  not  necessary  to  peace  of  mind 
and  well-being,  or  that  a  wise  man  should  die  poor. 
Carlyle — than  whom  no  able  shoemaker  ever  stuck 
more  closely  to  his  last — once  thought  he  would  like 
some  routine  post,  and  applied  for  the  appointment 
of  Astronomer  for  Scotland,  as  if  that  was  one  !  In 
his  account  of  the  transaction  he  acknowledges  that 
he  never  had  looked  through  a  telescope  in  his  life. 
Nay,  he  affirms  that  he  is  sure  he  could  do  anything 
or  everything  he  chose  to  do,  from  making  a  hut  to 
building  a  palace !  One  wonders  what  he  would 
have  set  about  on  being  elected  Astronomer  for 
Scotland.  By  concentration  and  limitation  he  was 
great,  but  on  meeting  him  closely  we  found  him 
almost  a  monomaniac  ;  and  there  is  this  to  be  added, 
he  enjoyed  life  less  than  most  men.  For  myself,  spec- 
tator and  even  somnambule  as  I  am,  had  I  to  re-live 
twenty  or  thirty  years  of  the  past,  I  would  say  with 
the  pedantic  gentleman  in  an  old  play  trying  to  make 
love  by  teaching  astronomy,  "  Let  us  turn  round  the 
celestial  globe  once  more  !  "  Then,  I  own,  I  believed 
in  myself  as  poetically  nascitiir  non  fit\ 



After  all  this  wisdom,  deduced  from  my  experiences 
of  life  and  perceptions  of  my  own  character,  I  may 
return  to  my  friends.  Holman  Hunt  returned  from 
Jerusalem  with  his  wife  and  son,  and  his  new  picture 
of  the  "Flight  into  Egypt,"  or  "Triumph  of  the  Inno- 
cents," in  the  spring  of  1877  ;  and  I  went  to  lunch  with 
them  one  Sunday  after  they  had  got  partially  settled. 
The  dear,  serious,  successful,  and  yet  in  some  degree 
disappointed  man  I  found,  after  his  long  absence, 
the  same  as  ever.  No  change  could  possibly  take 
place  either  on  his  art  or  himself,  except  the  change 
of  years  :  on  myself  I  could  not  detect  the  effect  of 
advancing"  age,  but  I  saw  it  on  all  my  friends  ;  and 
they  generally  told  me  they  were  surprised  they  did 
not  see  it  on  me.  I  suppose  the  cause  of  this  im- 
mobility was  that  I  now  took  all  things  easy,  having 
reached  a  table-land,  and  contented  myself  with  the 
before  -  mentioned  character  of  Spectator.  With 
Hunt  it  was  not  so.  He  was  more  than  ever  an 
anxious  man — spoke  of  going  again  for  a  month  or 


two  to  the  East  to  finish  his  picture ;  meanwhile 
he  had  taken  a  studio  here,  and  begun  struggling 
with  certain  difficulties  resulting-  from  the  canvas,  a 
Syrian  cloth,  on  which  he  unfortunately  began  his 

Among  others,  Millais  dropped  in  with  his  two 
daughters,  his  eldest  and  youngest — the  eldest  now 
close  on  twenty,  very  handsome,  as  might  have  been 
expected.  I  had  not  met  him  for  many  years, 
except  once,  and  that  was  at  the  funeral  of  John 
Leech,  where  he  was  one  of  the  pall-bearers,  with 
manly  tears  filling  his  reddened  eyes ;  and  in  him 
now  it  was  easy  to  recognise  the  old  nature,  always 
happy  and  at  ease,  but  with  a  great  development 
into  the  affirmation  of  success  and  worldly  wisdom. 
In  me  he  professed  to  see  no  change  !  I  asked  him 
who  the  young  lady  was^was  she  really  his  daughter  ? 
"Yes,  she  is  one  of  my  girls — the  eldest;  did  you 
think  she  was  my  wife?"  he  answered  in  his  old 
chaffy  way.  "  She  is  going  over  with  me  to  Paris 
to  speak  French  for  me  :  I  can't  parley-vous  at  all 
now."  When  he  first  appeared  in  London,  he  and 
his  parents  had  come  from  the  Channel  Islands,  and 
he  was  bi-lingual  ;  but  having  little  care  for  conver- 
sation or  reading — liking,  indeed,  everything  else 
better,  such  as  going  out  with  Leech  to  the  meet- 
ings of  hounds,  or  shooting,  or  whist — he  must  have 
lost  his  French — if  he  had  really  lost  it — from  disuse. 

He  did  not  say  so — perhaps  was  generously 
afraid  Hunt  might  feel  that  he  too  should  have  been 
included  in  a  similar  compliment — but  I  heard  after- 

XIV  S//^  JOHN  MILLAIS  223 

wards  that  he  was  only  going  to  Paris,  the  Interna- 
tional Exhibition  being  open,  because  of  an  invitation 
from  a  party  of  artists  who  proposed  to  present  him 
with  an  honorary  memorial  of  some  sort.  He  had 
had  Carlyle  for  two  sittings  to  paint  his  portrait. 
The  philosopher  of  Chelsea  turned  round  upon  him 
on  the  stair  of  his  new  house,  which  is  said  to  be  cjuite 
a  scala  del  giganti,  and  inquired,  "Has  paint  done 
all  this,  Mr.  Millais?"  On  being  answered,  with  a 
laugh,  in  the  affirmative,  Carlyle  continued,  "Ah, 
well,  it  shows  what  a  number  of  fools  there  are  in 
the  world ! "  A  very  amusing  anecdote  of  Millais 
was  told  me  by  F.  B.  B.,  worth  record  because  it  is 
about  as  characteristic  of  the  painter  as  the  other  is 
of  Carlyle.  A  Frenchman,  who  had  caught  sight  of 
a  handsome  cook  Mrs,  Millais  had,  became  trouble- 
some in  his  persevering  attentions.  The  cook  com- 
plained, as  well  as  Mrs.  M.,  and  Millais  warned  him 
off  the  premises.  The  Frenchman  could  not 
comprehend,  bowed  himself  away,  but  immediately 
reappeared,  just  as  they  were  all  sitting  down  to 
dinner.  Millais  caught  sight  of  him  ringing  the 
area  bell,  rushed  out  of  the  room,  collared  the  per- 
tinacious offender,  ran  him  up  to  the  top  of  the  street, 
and  over  against  the  railing  of  the  new  Natural 
History  Museum  to  be,  where  a  crowd  immediately 
collected,  the  poor  man  volubly  and  breathlessly  re- 
monstrating. Millais  retreated  home,  after  explain- 
ing his  position  hastily  to  the  crowd ;  but  it  was 
worse  at  home,  where  all  the  ladies  of  the  house- 
hold laughed  him  to  scorn  ! 

224  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

The  next  Sunday  Hunt  and  I  walked  over  to 
Battersea  to  find  a  model  he  wanted  who  lived 
there.  On  the  way  we  talked  of  the  old  times  of 
his  struggle  to  be  a  painter,  a  time  he  was  fond  of 
dwelling  upon  ;  and  I  was  pleased  to  find  that  but 
for  Millais  he  would  have  given  up  the  battle  and 
gone,  most  probably,  to  be  a  farmer  with  his  uncle. 
Both  the  old  Millais  explained  to  Hunt  that  their 
son  John  had  told  them  how  sorry  he  was  to  let 
Hunt  abandon  painting,  and  that  they  seconded 
their  son  to  the  full  in  the  plan  of  lending  W.  H.  H. 
money  as  long  as  he  required  it.  At  last  they 
prevailed,  and  for  a  long  time,  about  three  years  I 
think,  till  "The  Light  of  the  World"  was  finished, 
this  generous  scheme  took  effect.  Even  then  his 
difficulties  did  not  cease,  of  course  not,  as  he  was 
in  debt  and  anxious  to  repay,  and  Gambart  could 
scarcely  be  brought  to  give  him  ^400  for  that 
enormously  successful  picture,  as  he  averred  that 
sacred  subjects  would  not  pay  in  this  country.  The 
accomplishment  of  his  first  Eastern  journey  was 
again  the  cause  of  debt,  and  when  he  brought 
back  the  "  Scape-goat,"  an  eminent  picture-dealer 
would  not  look  at  it.  "You  have  no  business  to 
paint  animals,"  said  he;  "the  Scape  -  goat  ?  I 
never  heard  of  him,  is  he  a  Syrian  creature  }  What 
will  the  public  care  for  a  Scape-goat?"  Hunt 
explained  that  every  one  in  Great  Britain  knew  all 
about  it,  that  the  Scape-goat  was  a  type  of  Christ,, 
a  kind  of  sacrifice  of  atonement,  and  that  if  Mr. 
had   read  the    Bible    he    would   have    known. 

HOLM  AN  HUNT  225 

that  too.  "  Bible,  Bible !  well,  well,  there  are  two 
English  ladies  in  the  house  ;  I  will  call  them  in  and 
we  will  see  if  they  know  anything  about  this  Scape- 
goat." The  conclusion  of  the  interview  was  very 
amusingly  told  by  Hunt.  The  ladies  were  not  sure 
that  they  had  heard  about  the  Scape-goat,  but  at 
last  the  picture  was  bought  for  a  moderate  sum,  and 
the  publication  succeeded  in  a  way,  but  not  so  greatly 
as  "  The  Light  of  the  World,"  which  Gambart  in  a 
court  of  justice  declared  had  yielded  him  a  thousand 
pounds  a  year  for  a  series  of  years. 

Hunt  continued  to  struggle  with  his  picture, 
which  would  not  come  right,  and  had  in  consequence 
a  severe  illness  that  reduced  him  to  death's  door, 
and  forced  him  to  take  a  long  holiday.  After  this 
he  began  again.  On  the  last  day  of  the  year  1879, 
having  been  all  the  intermediate  time  labouring 
fitfully  and  nervously  with  his  bewitched  canvas,  he 
sent  his  man  with  a  pencilled  note  in  hand,  request- 
ing me  to  come  to  his  studio  in  Manresa  Road  at 
hand  in  my  neighbourhood  to  see  the  picture.  I 
had  never  asked  to  see  it,  thouoh  I  had  heard  it 
said  that  it  had  been  secretly  seen  by  some  friends, 
and  I  immediately  went  there.  My  curiosity  as  to 
his  treatment  of  the  subject,  and  my  growing  anxiety 
as  to  the  prolonged  technical  difficulty,  were  great. 

I  found  him  in  a  state  of  suspense  and  suppressed 
excitement,  his  temperament  being  one  that  showed 
no  emotion  in  ordinary  ;  even  when  taken  by  surprise 
he  would  show  no  signs  of  such  being  the  case.  He 
is  in  fact  one  of  the  kind  who  seem  to  count  twenty- 

VOL.   II  Q 

226  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

five  before  replying  to  any  unexpected  interrogation. 
Now  he  said  that  I  would  see  his  work  was  far  from 
finished,  but  he  had  determined  to  show  it  to  me 
first  of  all,  a  compliment  for  which  I  thanked  him.  I 
was  surprised  to  find  he  had  stepped  out  of  his  usual 
form  of  invention  altogether ;  not  only  leaving  the 
realities  of  Oriental  life,  but  introducing  supernatural 
actors  and  appearances.  He  still  indeed  retained 
the  Syrian  costume  on  the  Virgin  and  Joseph,  and 
the  ass  on  which  she  rode  with  the  child  in  her 
arms  was  a  Syrian  ass,  but  he  had  surrounded  the 
orthodox  group  with  a  running  dance  of  many  very 
elaborately-painted  children,  whose  heads  and  bodies, 
and,  to  speak  more  exactly,  their  feet  also,  were 
surrounded  with  a  bright  phosphoric  nimbus.  There 
was  something  exceedingly  charming  in  this 
rhythmic  accompaniment  of  the  Flight,  in  this  very 
vividly  and  solidly  painted  troop  of  bright  creatures 
wreathed  with  flowers,  and  carrying  palms  and 
lilies,  of  the  same  age  as  little  Jesus.  Besides,  they 
seemed  there  for  His  amusement  and  delectation. 
The  treatment  of  the  halo  as  an  inborn  phosphoric 
light  shining  outwards,  which  mesmerists  have 
affirmed  to  be  sometimes  visible  in  real  life,  is  here 
introduced  with  great  effect.  Little  cherubs  or 
amorini  employed  in  natural  actions  have  been 
often  brought  into  pictures  of  the  Flight  into  Egypt 
by  the  old  masters ;  and  I  accepted  these  super- 
naturals  as  such,  although  they  had  no  wings.  Some 
of  them  expressed  joyful  emotions,  but  others  were 
represented   with   the    flaccid    helpless  character  of 


quite  new-born  things.  The  light  and  shade  too  of 
the  whole  picture  struck  me  as  a  confusion  between 
sunlight  and  moonlight.  Up  to  the  time  of  my 
present  writing  the  picture  has  never  been  exhibited  ; 
but  some  day  or  other  it  is  to  be  hoped  it  will  be 
visible  to  all  the  world,  so  I  shall  not  further  describe 
it ;  I  have  only  done  so  so  far  as  to  explain  the 
correspondence  which  followed.  He  had  also 
startled  and  grieved  me  by  relating  a  preternatural 
incident,  or  something  like  one,  that  had  happened 
to  him  a  few  days  past,  on  Christmas  Day.  Reflect- 
ing on  these  matters,  I  wrote  him  next  morning. 

My  dear  Hunt — I  have  thought  a  great  deal  about 
your  picture  and  cannot  help  coming  to  the  conclusion 
that  it  will  be  a  perfect  success.  This  is  a  very  bad  day, 
otherwise  I  would  venture  to  call  again  and  offer  you,  or 
press  upon  you,  it  might  be,  a  criticism  on  the  lighting 
of  your  picture,  particularly  of  the  angels  (?).  I  want  to 
speak  more  from  a  poetical  point  of  view  than  as  a 
question  of  pictorial  treatment.  You  have  lighted  them 
not  by  any  natural  means,  as  they  are  brightly- lit  when 
the  rest  of  the  scene  is  in  partial  moonlight,  lit  in  a 
preternatural  way,  receiving  light  as  they  would  in  their 
native  region — heaven,  I  suppose, — "of  such  is  the  kingdom 
of  heaven  "  ;  to  fleck  them  with  shadows  as  if  from  inter- 
rupted sunlight  is  not  therefore  allowable. 

Thus  I  wrote,  with  more  to  the  same  effect, 
enlarging  on  the  treatment  in  other  respects.  I 
ended  with  an  allusion  to  the  apparition,  if  I  can  so 
call  it,  when  nothing  was  visible  : 

I  have  related  your  strange  adventure  on  Christmas 
Day  to  the  ladies  here,  my  wife  and  Miss  Boyd,  and  find 
them  curiously  interested.      Would  you  mind  writing  me  a 

228  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

few  words  to  sa}-  how  you  knezv  no  one  was  in  the  house  at 
the  time  ?  What  o'clock  was  it  ?  Yours  seems  a  common 
cast-metal  stove  ;  if  riveted,  it  seems  such  stoves  some- 
times crack  or  throw  out  a  rivet  with  a  tremendous  noise, 
if  intensely  heated. — My  dear  Hunt,  ever  yours, 

W.  B.  S. 

The  picture  had  now  been  under  his  hand  a  long 
series  of  years  refusing  to  come  right.  In  his  frame 
of  mind  he  had  come  to  beheve  not  that  the  Vvorld 
was  in  league  as  his  enemy,  but  that  the  cievil 
himself  was  fighting  against  him.  In  two  days 
I  received  a  painfully  interesting  answer  to  my 
note,  recounting  the  incident  at  length.  I  was 
wrong  in  my  precipitate  conclusion  that  the  num- 
erous charmingly-painted  children  were  angels  ; 
he  had  a  much  more  original  idea  than  that  stale 
one  :  they  are  the  souls  of  the  innocents  massacred 
by  the  orders  of  Herod.  I  must  insert  his  letter, 
which  enters  fully  into  both  subjects,  and  is,  indeed, 
one  of  the  most  interesting  and  charming  letters 
I  have  ever  received. 

2  Warwick  Gardens,  Kensington,  W., 
^th  January  iSSo. 

Mv  DEAR  Scott — It  was  very  good  of  you  to  write 
to  explain  your  impressions  of  the  points  in  my  picture 
which  invite  reconsideration. 

The  first  question  about  the  light  on  the  supernatural 
figures  I  debate  thus  :  The  children  must  be  so  treated 
that  they  shall  not  be  mistaken  for  infantine  angels  of 
heaven  or  amoretti,  which  previous  illustrations  of  the 
subject  would  lead  people  to  expect  to  find  them  to  be. 
The  beings  I  want  to  represent  really  differ  in  this,  that 


they  have  only  just  left  this  life  instead  of  having  got 
altogether  established  as  celestial  creatures.  Some  of 
them,  if  not  all,  may  indeed  scarcely  have  altogether  lost 
the  last  warmth  of  mortal  life.  It  seems  desirable,  there- 
fore, to  avoid  a  treatment  which  would  make  them  like 
the  angels  who  regard  the  face  of  our  Father  in  heaven. 
A  support  to  this  view  I  find  also  in  the  desirability  of 
avoiding  to  distinctly  pronounce  the  figures  to  be  either 
subjective  or  objective.  I  wish  to  avoid  positively  declaring 
them  to  be  more  than  a  vision  to  the  Virgin  conjured  up 
by  her  maternal  love  for  her  own  child,  the  Saviour,  who 
is  to  be  calling  her  attention  to  them.  Having  got  so  far 
in  my  reading  of  the  conception,  I  rely  for  the  next  step 
upon  what,  to  use  a  presumptuous  phrase,  I  will  call  my 
experience  of  the  embodiment  of  ideal  personages.  These 
develop  in  solidity  and  brightness  by  degrees,  and  I 
imagine  the  Virgin  to  have  seen  these  children  at  first, 
scarcely  discerning  that  they  were  not  natural  figures 
under  the  natural  light  which  illuminates  the  other  sur- 
rounding objects,  until,  with  longer  examination  and 
recognition  of  the  individuals  as  the  neighbouring  babies 
of  Bethlehem,  the  more  distinctive  parts  of  each  figure 
become  lighted  up  with  the  fullest  light,  and  as  a  full  con- 
solation, she  sees  the  glory  of  their  new  birth.  The  division 
of  the  two — the  natural  and  the  supernatural  illumination 
— cannot  be  avoided,  but  when  the  picture  is  completed, 
I  think  the  light  on  the  duller  parts  will  be  more  ethereal 
in  effect,  and  therefore  less  separated  from  the  brighter. 
The  criticism  about  the  immature  development  of  the 
ankles  I  will  attend  to  in  some  way  when  I  get  to  these 
parts  again. 

The  story  about  the  unaccountable  noise,  you  will 
remember,  I  gave  as  an  illustration  of  the  degree  to 
which  the  difficulty  with  my  picture  has  distressed  me. 
For  four  years  this  torment  has  been  going  on,  wasting 
my  life,  and  health,  and  powers,  just  when  I  believe  they 
should  be  at  the  best,  all  through  a  stupid  bit  of  temper 
on   the  part  of  a  good   friend.      I  don't  like  to  hold  him 


responsible,  although  his  agency  caused  the  beginning  of 
my  difficulties,  but  I  have  got  into  the  way  of  thinking 
that  it  is  one  of  many  troubles  during  these  seven  years 
(balanced  by  much  joy  of  my  last  four  years)  which  the 
Father  of  Mischief  himself  only  could  contrive.  What 
I  told  you  is  only  a  good  story,  as  my  impressions  give 
the  experience.  It  is  not  evidence,  remember,  one  way  or 
the  other,  although  I  give  the  exact  truth.  I  was  on 
Christmas  Day  induced  to  go  and  work  at  the  studio 
because  I  had  prepared  a  new  plan  of  curing  the  twisted 
surface,  and,  till  I  could  find  it  to  be  a  practicable  one, 
it  was  useless  to  turn  to  work  which  I  had  engagements 
to  take  up  on  the  following  days.  When  I  arrived  it 
was  so  dark  that  it  was  possible  to  do  nothing,  except 
with  a  candle  held  in  my  hand  along  with  the  palette. 
I  laboured  thus  from  about  eleven.  On  getting  to  work 
I  noticed  the  unusual  quietness  of  the  whole  establishment, 
and  I  accounted  for  it  by  the  fact  that  all  other  artists 
were  with  their  families  and  friends.  I  alone  was  there  at 
the  group  of  studios  because  of  this  terrible  and  doubtful 
struggle  with  the  devil,  which,  one  year  before,  had  brought 
me  to  the  very  portals  of  death ;  indeed,  almost,  I  may  say, 
beyond  these,  during  my  delirium.  Many  days  and  nights 
too,  till  past  midnight,  at  times  in  my  large,  dark  studio  in 
Jerusalem,  had  I  stood  with  a  candle,  hoping  to  surmount 
the  evil  each  hour,  and  the  next  day  I  had  found  all  had 
fallen  into  disorder  again,  as  though  I  had  been  vainly  striv- 
ing against  destiny.  The  plan  I  was  trying  this  Christmas 
morning  I  had  never  thought  of  before  the  current  week, 
but  it  might  be  that  even  this  also  would  fail.  As  I  groaned 
over  the  thoughts  of  my  pains,  which  were  interwoven  with 
my  calculations  of  the  result  of  the  coming  work  over  my 
fresh  preparation  of  the  ground,  I  gradually  saw  reason  to 
think  that  it  promised  better,  and  I  bent  all  my  energies 
to  advance  my  work  to  see  what  the  later  crucial  touches 
would  do.  I  hung  back  to  look  at  my  picture.  I  felt 
assured  that  I  should  succeed.  I  said  to  m\-self  half 
aloud,  "  I   think   I   have  beaten  the  devil  ! "  and   stepped 

HOLM  AN  HUNT  231 

down,  when  the  whole  building  shook  with  a  convulsion, 
seemingly  immediately  behind  my  easel,  as  if  a  great 
creature  were  shaking  itself  and  running  between  me  and 
the  door.  I  called  out,  "What  is  it?"  but  there  was  no 
answer,  and  the  noise  ceased.  I  then  looked  about  ;  it 
was  between  half-past  one  and  two,  and  perfectly  like  night, 
only  darker  ;  for  ordinarily  the  lamps  in  the  square  show 
themselves  after  sunset,  and  on  this  occasion  the  fog  hid 
everything.  I  went  to  the  door,  which  was  locked  as  I 
had  left  it,  and  I  noticed  that  there  was  no  sign  of  human 
or  other  creature  being  about.  I  went  back  to  my  work 
really  rather  cheered  by  the  grotesque  suggestion  that 
came  into  my  mind  that  the  commotion  was  the  evil  one 
departing,  and  it  was  for  this  I  told  you  the  circumstance 
on  the  day  of  your  visit.  I  do  not  pretend  that  this 
experience  could  be  taken  as  evidence  to  support  the 
doctrine  of  supernatural  dealings  with  man.  There  might 
have  been  some  disturbance  of  the  building  at  that  moment 
that  caused  the  noise  which  I  could  not  trace  ;  indeed, 
I  did  not  take  pains  to  do  this.  Half  an  hour  afterwards 
I  heard  an  artist,  who  works  two  studios  past  mine,  come 
up  the  stair,  and  before  he  arrived  by  my  door  he  said 
to  some  one  with  him,  "  It  is  no  use  going  in,  it  is  as  dark 
as  pitch,"  and  they  went  down  again.  This  was  the  only 
being  that  came  to  my  floor  during  my  whole  stay,  which 
was  till  3.30.  I  perhaps  should  have  taken  more  pains 
to  explain  the  riddle,  but  while  I  quite  accept  the  theory 
of  gradual  development  in  creation,  I  believe  that  there 
is  a  "  divinity  that  shapes  our  ends  "  every  day  and  every 
hour.  So  the  question  to  me  is  not  whether  there  zvas  a 
devil  or  not,  but  whether  that  noise  was  opportune,  for  I 
still  hope  that  the  wicked  one  was  defeated  on  Christmas 
morning  about  half-past  one.  Thus,  you  see  what  a  child 
I  am  ! — Yours  truly,  W.  HOLMAN  HUNT. 

To  me  the  state  of  mind  here  indicated,  though 
I  respect  it  so  much,  is  so  foreign  as  to  be  impossible 
as  an  experience  ;  but  in  this,  again,  I  recognise  our 


mental  conformations  are  inherited  even  like  our 
family  likeness.  I  consider  humanity  as  an  organised 
portion  of  nature,  only  with  the  power  of  self-con- 
templation which  separates  it  from  all  other  organisms 
and  places  us  over  the  rest  of  the  physical  world,  so 
that  life  is  to  the  human  creature  a  preordained  fight 
with  every  object  we  meet  from  adolescence  to  the 
grave.  This  fight  is  for  self-preservation  and  for 
self-advancement.  I  hold  that  progress,  mental  and 
bodily  aggrandisement,  and  ultimate  victory  in  the 
course  of  time  in  this  world,  is  a  law  of  the  nature  of 
a  being  with  self-conscious  powers.  Religion  gives 
us  ideals;  science  gives  us  command;  morals  give 
us  justice  ;  arts,  beauty  ;  medicine  preserves  and 
improves  the  body  ;  civil  law  defends  us  against 
ourselves.  But  out  of  or  beyond  this  controlling 
egoistic  order  of  advancement  there  is  no  good 
thing  ;  out  of  or  beyond  nature  there  is  nothing  at 
all  but  God,  space,  and  time. 

Does  this  end  in  a  platitude  }  Let  me  try  to 
explain  myself,  and  save  my  attempted  wisdom  from 
so  appearing.  Our  latest  acquisitions  of  knowledge 
go  to  show  us  that  the  farthest  star  is  like  this  world 
we  live  in,  chemically  and  elementally,  and  subject 
to  the  same  necessities  and  activities.  Life,  there- 
fore, throughout  creation  is  presumably  physical,  and 
only  possible  by  the  same  means  as  with  us.  And 
in  the  second  place,  all  attainment  of  an  organic  sort 
is  a  performance  perfected  by  processes  requiring 
millions  of  years  by  progressive  steps.  Many 
millions  before  vegetation  covers  the  earth  as  grass  ; 


many,  again,  before  any  kinds  of  four-footed  creatures 
live  by  eating  other  kinds.  We  see  that  the  tentacle 
after  millions  of  years  becomes  a  fin  associated  with 
a  spine  ;  and  that  is  clothed  with  feathers  as  a  wing  ; 
and  again  with  hair  and  claws  as  a  forefoot ;  and 
again  the  articulation  is  freed  into  fingers,  and  the 
hand  of  man  with  all  his  upright  anatomy  results  at 
last — a  result  which  must  have  been  preordained 
before  the  manifold  transformations  began,  in  or  by 
some  Divine  force.  But  in  all  this — the  scheme  of 
nature,  which  is  a  scheme  of  life — there  is  clearly  no 
room  for  a  devil  or  a  ghost  till  we  ascend  to  the 
intellect.  Out  of  the  intellect  only  they  can  come  ; 
they  are  therefore  not  entities,  but  ideas.  This 
scheme  of  progressive  or  creative  energy  we  call 
Nature  ;  outside  or  beyond  this  we  can  predicate 
nothing  save  the  Divine  force  we  name  God,  Space, 
and  Time. 

Since  that  time,  January  1880,  I  have  seen  him 
many  times.  He  has  abandoned  the  so  troublesome 
canvas,  and  copied  the  whole  picture  on  a  fresh  one  ; 
but  still  the  difficulties  in  his  way  follow  him,  even 
on  the  new  and  sound  English  double  canvas.  The 
good  friend  he  alludes  to  in  his  letter  was  his  friend 
of  many  long  years,  F.  G.  Stephens,  who  had 
simply  made  the  mistake  of  using  too  large  a  box, 
which  he  jocularly  called  Goliath.  This  large  box 
could  not  travel  by  any  means  of  transit  known  to 
the  stony  roads  in  Palestine  ;  its  address  and  key 
had  both  been  lost,  and  it  was  laid  away  at  the  sea- 
port till  by  accident  Hunt  saw  it  after  nearly  a  year. 

234  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap,  xiv 

The  "joy"  he  mentions  experiencing  during  the 
latest  four  years  of  the  seven  was  doubtless  his  second 
marriage,  which  has  really  been  his  salvation  by  the 
amiability  and  helpfulness  of  the  noblest  of  women. 

On  one  of  my  latest  visits  I  determined  to  say 
what  I  had  long  thought,  that  his  difficulties  were 
imaginary,  not  caused  by  the  canvas,  but  in  his  own 
overworked  or  over-anxious  brain.  He  took  the 
remonstrance  in  good  part,  answering  with  a  gentle 
smile  that  he  knew  too  well  all  the  different  causes 
of  the  trouble,  and  alluded  in  a  distant  way  to  the 
incident  of  Christmas  Day,  acknowledging  that  the 
influence,  of  whatever  kind  it  was,  had  not  yet  been 
fairly  banished.  Very  shortly  after  this,  I  must  add, 
his  brow  cleared  ;  his  picture  went  all  right  ;  it  was 
finished  ;  both  pictures  were  finished  admirably  ! 



The  unpleasant  subject  of  mesmerism,  table-rapping, 
or  spiritualism,  qnid  sit  nomen  ?  has  turned  up  in 
these  pages  now  and  then ;  ugly  enough  I  may 
describe  it,  like  one  of  the  misshapen  things  in  the 
Dutch  Temptations  of  St.  Anthony,  yet  I  would  like 
finally  to  introduce  it  again  after  the  interesting 
relation  of  the  preceding  chapter,  and  the  faith  in  it 
held  by  D.  G.  R.  and  others  already  noted.  The 
incident  in  Hunt's  studio  was  somewhat  similar  to 
asserted  phenomena  among  spiritualists,  but  it  was 
totally  different,  inasmuch  as  my  dear  friend  Hunt  is 
a  sincerely  orthodox  believer,  whereas  the  so-called 
spiritualists  have  neither  faith  nor  philosophy  worth 
inquiring  about.  The  absurdity  of  men  who  do  not 
believe  in  any  hereafter  calling  up  the  dead  is  so 
great  that  it  needs  only  to  be  mentioned  to  be 
laughed  at,  and  it  is  clear  that  if  the  visitation  of  the 
souls  of  the  deceased  can  be  credited,  it  must  be  as 
a  belief  dependent  upon  other  dogmas,  and  resulting 
from  faith  in  new  life  endowed  with  full  conscious- 
ness and  memory  of  the  life  here.     A  new  revelation 

236  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

would  be  necessary  to  give  authority  to  any  scheme 
of  future  existence  supporting  this  vulgar,  sensuous 
intercourse !  However,  putting  all  absurdities  out 
of  the  question,  the  direct  power  of  one  mind  over 
another  is  very  great  and  obscure  ;  there  may  be 
much  yet  unknown  within  the  ordinary  bounds  of 
human  nature. 

Twenty-five  or  thirty  years  ago,  when  my  series 
of  pictures  from  the  History  of  the  English  Border 
was  in  progress,  a  young  relative  of  Sir  Walter 
Trevelyan  returned  from  India,  sold  out  of  the 
army,  and  was  much  with  us  both  at  Wallington 
and  at  Newcastle.  He  was  a  clever  and  amusing 
addition  to  the  circle.  He  was  bitten  by  the  evi- 
dence of  great  fortunes  being  made  in  the  iron  trade 
in  these  parts  ;  lost  Jiis  fortune  at  once  by  investing 
it  in  a  failing  concern  ;  and  on  our  migration  to 
London  we  saw  him  from  year  to  year,  finding  him 
always  promulgating  astounding  schemes  for  retriev- 
inor  himself.  He  went  to  South  America  to  catch 
wild  horses,  a  scheme  he  kept  to  himself  till  his 
return  after  failure.  Next  he  came  in  for  a  family 
legacy,  and  left  us,  again  disappearing  for  a  series 
of  years. 

In  the  summer  of  1878,  when  preparing  to  leave 
town,  a  card  was  brought  to  me  with  his  name  in  a 
new  form,  the  maternal  name  being  incorporated 
in  full  with  his  own,  and  beneath  it,  instead  of  an 
address,  the  words.  Universal  Repttblic.  WithotU 
the  dangei'-signal.      I   immediately  rushed  from  my 


library  to  meet  him,  and  found  the  tall  handsome 
man  standing  in  the  middle  of  the  room,  perfectly 
self-possessed,  but  literally  in  rags.  Even  in  this 
disguise  the  maid-servant  had  had  the  perception 
that  he  was  a  gentleman,  and  treated  him  accordingly. 
I  received  him  after  a  moment's  surprise  as  if  nothing 
peculiar  was  observable.  He  talked  as  of  old,  told 
me  he  had  been  to  America,  and  gave  me  without 
reserve  his  experiences  of  the  continent  from  New 
York  to  the  Great  Salt  Lake.  At  first  he  had  been 
in  society  of  the  best  cultivation,  as  a  descendant  on 
both  sides  from  two  of  the  most  ancient  houses  in 
the  old  country  ;  he  had  also  associated  with  several 
kinds  of  new-light  sets  of  people,  especially  with 
magnetists  and  spiritualists  ;  sometimes  he  had 
laboured  in  the  fields  ;  he  had  been  told  he  ought 
to  do  so,  and  he  did ;  we  all  ought ;  why  should  we 
let  others  do  what  we  thought  beneath  ourselves. 
At  last  he  fulfilled  his  apprenticeship,  so  to  say,  and 
came  home  ;  but  as  he  had  spent  all  his  money,  he 
worked  his  passage  over.  There  again  he  conformed 
to  the  law  of  human  equality,  and  learned  something 
besides.  He  had  no  reservation  ;  he  perfectly  be- 
lieved in  spiritual  supervision,  but  he  objected  to 
the  danger-signal!  On  inquiring  into  this,  and 
wishing  an  explanation,  he  would  scarcely  believe  I 
could  have  lived  so  long  without  being  consciously 
aware  oftentimes  that  impulses  or  warnings  were 
conveyed  into  the  mind  in  a  moment  from  some 
outward  power.  In  his  case  this  definite  impression 
from  without,    which,    as    he    described    it,    closely 


resembled  what  my  dear  Quaker  friend  called  in 
her  pious  way  having  a  line  of  action  or  conviction 
"  pressed  in  upon  her,"  was  accompanied  by  a 
smart  pain.  To  this  he  objected.  "  And  you  see," 
he  added,  pointing  to  his  card  still  lying  on  the  table, 
"  I  have  said  that  I  do  not  practise,  and  wish  to  be 
without  this  momentary  pain."  To  all  this  I  utterly 
objected,  and  he  politely  received  my  objections  as 
natural  on  my  part,  if  I  had  experienced  nothing. 

He  dined  with  us,  criticised  the  wine,  and  now  I 
ventured  to  speak  of  his  habiliments,  and  I  asked 
him  where  he  lived.  This  he  took  frankly  and  in 
the  best  way,  owning  that  he  would  have  better 
clothes  if  he  had  any  money  to  buy  them  ;  but,  after 
all,  why  should  he  ?  He  had  been  told  that  all  his 
family  and  his  old  friends  were  in  the  opposite 
camp ;  he,  belonging  to  the  Universal  Republic, 
knew  this.  He  found,  however,  that  /  was  not 
objected  to  ;  so  he  had  called  on  me.  "  But  the 
weather  is  warm  ;  one  can  live  on  amazingly  little. 
I  have  no  place  of  abode  ;  this  is  my  house,  my 
library,  and  my  bed."  With  that  he  opened  his 
great  ragged  wrapper  of  a  coat,  showing  absence  of 
shirt,  but  with  the  pockets  filled  with  books  and 
loose  printed  papers.  Seeing  books,  curiosity  got 
the  better  of  me.  I  said  I  should  like  to  know 
what  they  were  ;  he  pulled  out  two,  left  them  with 
me,  and  disappeared. 

These  books  were  American  productions  by 
women-authors — creatures,  I  think  I  may  say,  bent 
upon    distinguishing    themselves    by    a    mixture    of 


imposture  (conscious  or  unconscious)  and  egotism, 
relying  upon  ignorance  to  overrule  reason  and  make 
them  received  as  peculiarly  gifted.  One  of  them 
was  an  Essay  on  Symbolism,  the  symbols  having 
been  revealed  to  the  authoress  as  a  medium,  and 
illustrated  by  coloured  designs  of  the  maddest  mean- 
ing. One  of  them  was  called  Christ  zuithoiit  Hands, 
followed  by  another  called  Christ  the  Female. 
These  meant  that  doing,  working,  using  the  human 
fin  in  any  way  was  of  no  avail,  but  that  the  reign  of 
the  higher  nature,  i.e.  the  female,  is  about  to  begin  ! 
Man  has  the  power  of  the  genus  Bos,  and  the  equine 
qualities  ;  he  has  had  his  day,  the  nobler  spiritualism 
and  weaker  bodily  qualities  of  the  woman  are  to 
succeed  ;  the  time  is  ripe  ;  she  is  to  carry  human 
nature  into  the  divine  sphere.  The  male  organism 
is  only  the  servant  of  the  female,  and  once  at  least 
in  the  history  of  the  world  its  service  has  been 
dispensed  with  already  :  the  product  of  the  woman 
alone  was  the  Christ !  There  is  a  daring,  if  not  very 
charming,  heterodoxy  about  this  that  indicates  a 
new  era  indeed,  and  spiritualism,  of  which  women  are 
generally  the  cleverest  media,  is  the  key  to  open  it ! 
A  year  after  this,  the  desire  to  hear  something 
of  my  friend  increased  to  such  an  extent  that  I  made 
inquiry  by  writing  Sir  Walter,  a  step  I  had  long 
meditated.  No  direct  answer  arrived,  but,  shortly 
after,  the  father  of  my  friend,  whom  I  had  not  hitherto 
seen,  called  upon  me.  No  tidings  of  the  wanderer 
had  been  heard  for  a  long  time  ;  I  had  been  the 
latest  to  see  him  on  the  visit   I  have  recorded,  but 

240  WILLIAM  BELL  SCOTT  chap. 

just  a  few  weeks  before  my  note  of  inquiry  reached 
Sir  Walter,  my  friend's  brother,  passing  up  Regent 
Street,  suddenly  recognised  him  selling  flowers  at 
the  curbstone!  His  brother  had  rushed  forward 
and  tried  to  embrace  him,  begging  him  to  come 
home  to  his  chambers.  This  the  wanderer  peremp- 
torily refused  to  do.  His  brother  would  then  buy  his 
flowers.  "Take  them,"  said  my  friend;  "I  paid 
half-a-crown  for  them  this  morning ;  take  them  for 
a  shilling."  A  half-crown  was  placed  in  his  hand  in 
exchange  for  the  flowers,  but  he  threw  it  down,  and 
fled.  The  result  of  this  dreadful  meeting  was  to 
increase  the  alarm  of  the  family  to  such  an  extent 
that  they  took  a  house  in  town,  and  so  the  father 
had  been  able  to  call.  He  thought,  as  I  seemed 
less  tabooed  by  his  son,  that  I  might  be  able  to 
assist  in  finding  him  ;  but  I  had  no  clue.  His  only 
plan  now  was  to  be  always  everywhere  about,  on  the 
chance  of  meeting  him.  The  world  of  London  is 
large,  but  exhaustible.  Walking  with  little  hope  in 
one  of  the  parks  in  that  June  weather  he  saw  his 
son  sittinof  on  one  of  the  seats  ;  he  could  not  be 
mistaken  !  Cautiously  he  advanced,  and  cautiously 
addressed  him  ;  a  singular  meeting,  the  second 
indeed  in  the  short  history,  and  this  one  had  a  better 
result  than  that  in  Regent  Street.  He  promised  to 
see  his  mother,  and  to  do  so  consented  to  go  to  the 
tailor  first.  Me  he  has  never  called  upon  again, 
and  I  have  never  ventured  to  ask  for  information, 
his  state  so  nearly  resembled  madness.  I  only 
know  that  his  father  had  placed  a  sum  of  money  in 


a  bank  known  to  his  son,  to  which  he  could  apply. 
He  was  like  a  madman,  yet  he  was  not  mad  ;  his 
whole  nature  was  changed  by  spiritualism.  He  had 
impressed  me  as  a  modern  John  the  Baptist. 

The  difference  between  persistent  enthusiasm 
and  monomania  is  often  extremely  slight,  and  difficult 
to  define.  In  the  East  Holman  Hunt  met  a  man 
in  whom  they  were  very  closely  combined,  who 
followed  him  to  England,  where  Hunt  took  so  great 
a  liking  to  him  that  he  took  charge  of  him  for  years. 
Monk  was  this  old  man's  name,  a  rather  handsome, 
innocent,  large,  white-bearded  man.  While  Monk 
lived  with  Hunt  he  painted  the  enthusiast's  portrait, 
calling  it  "The  Prophet."  Monk  did  not  pretend 
to  that  character,  but  devoted  his  whole  life  to  the 
formation  of  a  new  society  of  the  Faithful,  which  was 
to  own  and  inhabit  the  Holy  Land  ;  this  was  like 
forming  a  rope  of  sand.  The  first  time  I  saw  Hunt 
after  the  correspondence  about  the  great  noise  be- 
hind the  picture,  he  asked  me  if  I  remembered 
Monk,  and  produced  a  letter  from  him,  now  in  the 
East  again,  or  rather  a  circular,  requiring  all  who 
received  it  to  give  up  to  the  writer  a  tenth  of  their 
entire  property  to  form  a  fund  for  the  purchase  of  the 
sacred  soil.  Hunt  had  declined  this  fanciful  pro- 
posal, and  spoke  of  old  Monk  with  a  clear  enough 
perception  of  the  true  nature  of  the  character ;  but 
he  had  just  had  a  visit  from  Ruskin,  who  had 
received  a  similar  letter,  which  he  had  signed  with 
an  intention  to  conform  to  the  demand.  I  have 
never  heard  that  he  did  so. 

VOL.   II  R 


About  the  same  time  Alfred  and  Anna  Mary 
Watts  came  to  live  in  Cheyne  Walk,  and  so  joined 
our  Chelsea  society.  Mrs.  Watts — Anna  Mary 
Howitt  of  the  old  time — was  now  a  neat  little 
elderly  lady  with  plenty  of  white  hair,  as  pretty  and 
vivacious — what  people  call  bright — as  ever,  and 
both  were  as  much  attached  to  spiritualism  as 
before.  She  had  become  vegetarian,  and  so  closely 
adhered  to  her  programme  that  she  objected  even 
to  eggs.  This,  she  believed,  made  her  less  bound 
by  the  body,  more  free  of  the  physical  trammel,  and 
she  had  given  up  painting  a  long  time,  though  she 
still  had  some  of  her  little  water-colour  drawings, 
inspired  by  the  spirits,  hanging  on  the  walls.  Mrs. 
Lynn  Linton  told  me  a  curious  anecdote  of  the  old 
Mrs.  Watts,  who  died  a  year  or  two  ago.  One 
forenoon  she  found  the  old  lady  spinning  a  top  on 
the  large  dining-room  table.  At  first  Mrs.  Linton 
came  to  the  conclusion  that  the  poor  soul  had  lost 
her  wits,  but  Mrs.  Watts  turned  upon  her  saying  : 
"  Do  you  wonder  why  I  am  spinning  a  top  ?  But  of 
course  you  do.  I  am  only  amusing  the  dear  little 
children  ;  the  room  is  full  of  them,  and  they  like 
nothing  so  much  as  to  see  me  spin  the  top ! " 

It  was  instructive  to  see  the  enthusiastic  girl 
who  went  to  Munich  to  study  painting,  and  wrote 
the  A^d-Sttident  in  Munich,  changed  into  the  idle- 
handed,  passive  woman  of  fifty-five,  with  all  the 
sweetness  and  gentleness  still  left,  listening  not  so 
much  to  you  as  to  the  empty  air.  I  found  her  one 
evening    sitting    by    the    drawing-room    fire    alone. 


looking  at  the  flames  ;  not  a  book  or  newspaper,  or 
fancy  work,  or  piano,  in  the  apartment.  Suddenly, 
however,  I  found  the  inherited  literary  ability  in 
both  her  and  her  husband,  as  vivid  as  ever,  by  their 
book  of  poems  called  Auro7'a. 

This  little  volume  with  the  significant  name  is,  to 
my  mind,  the  best  outcome  as  yet  of  the  spiritualism 
of  the  day,  full  of  beautiful  things  beautifully  said, 
though  the  light  in  it  is  the  moonlight  giving  sharp, 
but  doubtful  visions,  in  which  the  true  colours  of 
material  things  are  lost. 

But  enough  of  this  :  it  would  not  have  appeared 
in  these  notes  at  all,  but  that  so  many  times  I  have 
had  this  spiritualism  or  kindred  states  of  mind 
forced  upon  my  attention,  even  by  some  of  the 
ablest  men  mentioned  in  my  story. 


DEATH     OF     G.     H.     LEWES     AND     GEORGE      ELIOT OF 



The  years  1878-80  have  furnished  me  with  a  great 
many  recollections,  and  I  must  still  recur  to  them  ; 
they  were  the  most  fatal  to  my  friends  of  all  the 
years  of  my  life.  Lewes  and  Wornum,  Sir  Walter 
Trevelyan,  Thomas  Dixon  of  Sunderland — Carlyle 
at  the  beginning  of  1881 — and  many  others,  not  to 
be  mentioned  here,  all  passed  away.  All  these 
have  already  appeared  in  these  pages  ;  to  carry  out 
my  principle,  preserving  my  interest  to  the  last  in 
all  the  friends  whose  intimacy  has  been  dear  to  me, 
I  must  place  them  again  on  my  record,  and  close 
the  story  of  each. 

On  the  last  day  of  November  1878  Miss  Edith 
Simcox — Lawrenny  as  she  signed  herself  in  the 
Academy  and  other  journals — thinking,  very  kindly, 
that  she  ought  to  be  the  first  to  inform  me,  wrote 
to  my  wife  that  Lewies  was  dead.  She  and  George 
Eliot  (Mrs.  Lewes)  had  become  inseparably  attached ; 
she  had  been  at  their  house,  the   Priory,  daily.      I 

CHAP.  XVI  G.   H.   LEWES  245 

was  his  oldest  literary  friend  now  living,  she  said. 
The  feeling  that  I  was  much  to  blame  living  so  apart 
from  him,  took  possession  of  me.  He  is  nearly 
the  only  man  among  all  my  friends  who  has  never 
ceased  to  advance.  At  first  he  was  only  the  clever 
fellow,  but  at  a  very  early  time  he  became  the 
literary  adept,  then  the  able  investigator,  and  lastly, 
the  scientific  thinker  and  philosopher,  one  of  the 
most  trenchant  and  advanced  minds  in  the  science 
of  this  country.  The  day  was  an  aguish  drizzle 
characteristic  of  the  season,  but  in  a  sad  frame  of 
mind  I  went  to  leave  a  card  at  North  Bank,  and 
returned  not  the  better  of  my  excursion. 

We  use  the  w^ord  genius  in  a  very  loose  way. 
It  has  a  meaning  always  comparative,  yet  we  use 
it  as  if  its  signification  was  definitive  and  fixed. 
To  Lewes  we  would  not  apply  it,  and  yet  his. 
mental  powers  were  inherent,  not  cultivated.  He 
set  about  learning  any  language  necessary,  or  any 
science  he  chose,  and  never  missed  an  experiment, 
never  forgot  a  word  or  a  proposition.  This  was 
partly  or  primarily  no  doubt  because  his  memory 
was  retentive,  but  no  sooner  did  he  possess  himself 
of  a  science  or  language  than  he  used  his  knowledge 
in  such  a  manner  that  the  men  who  had  been  all 
their  lives  occupied  with  that  single  subject,  ac- 
knowledged him  their  comrade.  At  the  time  of  his 
death  I  had  not  seen  him  for  many  months,  a  year 
perhaps  it  might  be.  They  had  then  called 
together ;  it  was  the  first  time  George  Eliot  had 
been  in  my  house  ;   she  was  evidently  occupied  at 


the  moment  with  houses  and  furnishing  ;  they  had 
just  got  possession  of  their  new  place  in  the  country, 
and  she  was  much  interested  in  our  new  abode,  with 
its  many  reception-rooms.  He  was  so  too  ;  there 
was  the  sort  of  self-complacent  feeling  between  us 
of  two  old  fellows  who  had  not  stuck  in  the  world, 
but  had  made  some  considerable  way  since  we 
used  to  meet  in  my  first  studio,  which  was  a  room 
up  two  stairs  in  Edward  Street,  Hampstead  Road, 
where  we  talked  well  into  the  night,  as  youngsters 
do,  but  on  the  wisest  and  most  recondite  subjects. 

It  was  remarkable  that  only  a  few  weeks  before 
I  had  made  an  etching  from  a  pencil  sketch  done  in 
Leigh  Hunt's  house  in  Cheyne  Row,  I  think,  one 
evening  when  he  and  I  met  there,  nearly  forty 
years  ago.  The  pencil  sketch  was  slight,  but  it 
conveyed  the  bodily  semblance  and  characteristic 
action  of  both  Hunt  and  Lewes — Hunt,  with  his 
face  well  raised,  with  a  quantity  of  hair  he  con- 
tinued to  part  in  the  middle,  that  made  him  look  a 
large-headed  man,  as  indeed  he  was,  having  found 
other  men's  hats,  including  those  of  Shelley  and 
Byron,  would  not  go  on  his  head  ;  and  Lewes,  a 
fidgety  little  fellow,  stooping  forward  in  an  inquisi- 
tive, interrogating  attitude.  The  only  other  person 
in  the  sketch,  besides  myself,  was  Vincent  Hunt, 
then  a  boy,  whose  death  was  a  grievous  blow  to 
Hunt  in  his  later  years.  I  now  wish  I  had  shown 
this  etching  to  Lewes.  His  advancement  in  learn- 
ing and  position  was  carried  out  by  advancement 
also   in  temper  and   person ;    he  would   have   been 


pleased  probably  with  this  memorandum  of  the  old 
time,  and  so  might  George  Eliot,  but  I  was  not 
sure  enough  of  this  to  venture  placing  it  in  his 
hand.  The  reason  I  did  not  was  that  he  used  to 
be  called  the  ugliest  man  in  London,  and  his  poor 
little  wife  of  that  day  was  one  of  the  prettiest.  My 
etching,  however,  does  not  exhibit  his  plainness 
particularly.  They  had  been  buying  a  billiard  table 
for  their  country  residence — not,  as  he  explained  in 
a  doubtful  accent,  to  play  himself,  but  for  guests  on 
a  rainy  day.  Now  I  am  the  only  one  in  this  sketch 
remaining  in  the  land  of  the  living. 

George  Eliot  did  not  forget  the  impression  she 
carried  away  of  our  house,  and  the  view  of  the 
Thames  we  had.  Not  long  after  the  death  of 
Lewes  she  took  the  mansion  at  the  other  end  of 
Cheyne  Walk,  in  which  Daniel  Maclise  painted  his 
latest  picture,  and  we  congratulated  ourselves  on 
having  her  added  to  the  Chelsea  circle  of  friends 
as  Mrs.  Cross.  By  this  time  we  had  been  about 
ten  years  inhabitants  of  that  locality,  and  very  much 
attached  to  it,  finding  it  in  many  respects  like  a 
quiet  country  town,  although  it  is  an  integral  part 
of  the  busiest  and  o-reatest  of  cities.  Old-fashioned 
shops  are  the  rule,  many  of  them  kept  by  the  same 
families  for  several  generations.  Everybody  knows 
something  of  everybody  else ;  there  are  coteries 
without  the  exclusive  feeling,  great  people  like  the 
son  of  Shelley,  and  the  grandson  of  Byron,  settled 
near  each  other,  and  the  esoteric  junto  of  the 
privileged,    artists   and   literati.       There   were    also 

248  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

the  public  characters  of  a  country  town.  The  old 
woman  who  called  watercresses  ;  the  groggy  old 
gentleman  whom  the  boys  waylaid,  and  induced  to 
chase  them  with  his  brandished  stick  ;  and  the 
ancient  barber,  too,  who  actually  still  had  daily 
customers  whom  he  shaved,  was  to  be  met  on  his 
beat,  with  brush,  comb,  etc.,  peeping  out  of  the 
pocket  of  his  snow-white  apron.  On  Monday 
mornings  my  wife  witnesses  a  different  indication  of 
provincial  habits.  Calling  on  the  grocer  with  a  list 
of  household  items  wanted,  she  finds  the  incumbent 
of  the  old  parish  church  (the  charming  old  church 
where  the  great  Bible  is  still  to  be  seen  chained  on 
its  reading-desk,  as  ordered  by  Henry  VIII.  for  the 
use  of  the  public)  with  piles  of  copper  money  before 
him,  which  he  and  his  parishioners  count  out  into 
shillings  on  the  counter,  getting  silver  instead,  and 
expatiating  on  the  fact  that  there  were  two  half- 
crowns  and  a  five-shilling  piece  in  the  plate  yester- 
day !  Is  it  not  charming  that  in  London  we  are 
still  in  this  idyllic  life  ? — But  Mrs.  Cross  was  not  to 
enjoy  it. 

After  her  death  some  of  the  daily  wTiters,  who 
produced  the  overstrained  notices  of  her  career  and 
eenius,  omitted  all  mention  of  Lewes.  She  was 
said  to  be  great  in  philosophy,  and  wise  beyond 
measure,  but  the  mention  of  her  instructor  was  not 
to  be  tolerated  for  the  sake  of  propriety.  An 
amusing  revelation  of  the  difference  between  the 
conventional  style  of  the  printed  eulogium  and  the 
private  verdict,  is  afforded  by  a  reported  conversa- 

R.   N.    WORNUM  249 

tion  with  Carlyle  on  the  adoption  of  George  Ehot 
by  the  ignored  Lewes  long  years  ago.  "  Ah !  George 
EHot  is  a  female  writer  of  books  like  myself  and 
himself.  I  got  one  of  them  and  tried  to  read  it,  but 
it  would  not  do.  Poor  Lewes!  Poor  fellow!"  were 
the  words  with  which  the  "  philosopher  of  Chelsea  " 
eased  his  mind. 

With  Ralph  Wornum  the  close  amity  of  the  early 
day  when  he,  Tom  Sibson,  and  I  spent  every 
Saturday  night  together  over  a  male  life  study  of  an 
hour  and  a  half,  and  a  glass  of  toddy  or  punch  after 
it,  was  never  disturbed.  He  became  lecturer  to 
the  Government  Schools  of  Design,  and  on  his  visits 
to  Newcastle  was  my  guest.  On  one  occasion  he 
found  me  painting  the  trial  of  Sir  William  Wallace 
as  rebel  at  Westminster,  and  gave  me  a  study  from 
his  own  Herculean  arms  and  chest,  and  I  found  him 
possessed  of  a  nearly  perfect  human  form,  only  a 
little  too  fleshy.  My  picture  was  a  rather  imaginary 
piece  of  British  history,  but  I  afterwards  discovered 
a  subject  from  the  same  story  of  a  sublimely  dramatic 
character.  The  execution  of  the  hero  took  place  on 
a  day  of  the  Fair  of  St.  Bartholomew  in  Smithfield, 
so  that  the  hurdle  with  the  doomed  patriot,  the 
executioner,  and  a  little  John  Bull  of  an  officiating 
sheriff,  passed  along  among  the  zanies  and  quacks 
and  dumb  heads  of  heifers.  Another  fine  subject, 
of  a  quite  different  kind,  I  have  often  thought  of,  if 
the  R.  A.  had  ever  treated  my  pictures  with  a  grain 
of  consideration.  This  was  the  marriaee  of  dear 
Albert  Dlirer,  and   was   suggested  on   my  visit  to 


Niirnberg  by  the  loveliest  of  backgrounds  in  the 
"Bride's  Door"  of  St.  Sebald's  Church,  with  its 
decorative  statuettes  of  the  wise  and  foolish  Virgins  ; 
Durer  having  been  married  in  the  parish  of  St. 
Sebald.  Imagine  Agnes  in  her  good  and  pretty 
young  days,  and  the  strangely  interesting  Albert 
himself,  and  old  Wolgemut,  and  Albert  the  old,  and 
the  boy's  godfather,  the  printer  of  the  chronicle ! 

This  muscular  power  and  beauty  of  Ralph 
Wornum  did  not  save  him  from  a  comparatively 
early  break-up  in  his  general  health.  One  day  I 
had  my  fellow-examiners  from  South  Kensington  to 
dinner,  and  Wornum  came  to  meet  them.  He  had 
long  parted  with  the  department  for  the  position  of 
Keeper  and  Secretary  of  the  National  Gallery,  under 
Eastlake,  who  procured  his  appointment,  so  pleased' 
was  he  with  Wornum's  solution  of  the  difficulty  that 
he,  Professor  Long,  and  some  others,  were  at  the 
moment  troubling  their  heads  about,  whether  Claud 
Lorraine  was  in  boyhood  a  baker  of  pies  or  a  painter 
of  pies — pistor  or  pict or. 

#J/.  -^  M.  M, 

■IV-  TT'  -TS"  TV- 

W  ^  -TV  "7^  Iv^ 

The  night  of  that  dinner-party,  if  I  remember 
right,  was  one  of  the  thickest  fogs  of  the  London 
season,  so  thick  that  no  cab  or  carriage  ventured 
out,  and  Wornum  had  to  expose  himself  to  it,  refusing 
to  remain  with  us  all  night,  I  am  sorry  to  say,  and 
was  very  ill  on  the  way  home.  I  only  saw  him  once 
after,  these  being  very  busy  years  with  me.  He 
had   long  determined   to  write   a  life  of   St.    Paul, 

R.   N.    WORNUM  251 

placing,  as  he  believed,  the  true  character  of  the 
apostle  of  the  Gentiles  before  the  literary  world  for 
the  first  time.  At  last  the  voluntary  labour  was 
completed ;  a  goodly  volume,  which  had  entailed 
late  evening  labour  for  years,  now  that  Greek  and 
other  necessary  acquirements  for  such  a  task  were 
rather  fading  out  of  his  mind,  and  it  was  published 
under  the  name  of  Saul  of  Tarsus.  At  the  National 
Gallery  I  met  him.  Mrs.  Wornum,  his  sustaining 
friend,  had  accompanied  him  from  home  and  waited 
to  take  him  back.  The  strong  man  was  giving  way. 
Supporting  himself  by  leaning  heavily  on  the  barrier 
protecting  the  pictures  in  the  great  room,  he  told 
me  he  was  gradually  getting  weaker.  "  I  should 
have  taken  fewer  tasks  in  hand,"  he  said  ;  "  some  of 
them  will  never  see  the  light ;  Saul  of  Tarsjts  has 
conquered,"  This  was  very  painful  to  me.  Yes,  it 
is  fruitless  to  fight  against  convictions,  the  accretions 
of  centuries.  Here  was  my  dear  friend  Wornum 
saying  again  with  Julian,  the  philosopher  and  "  apost- 
ate," Vicisti,  GalilcEe. 

A  few  months  after  the  death  of  Ralph  Nicholson 
Wornum,  Senator  Schoelcher,  who  still  retained  his 
villa  in  the  neighbouring  street  (Upper  Cheyne 
Street,  the  street  or  road  where  Leigh  Hunt  lived 
when  I  knew  him),  although  his  time  was  now  mainly 
spent  in  France  attending  on  his  political  duties, 
presented  me  with  a  similar  book.  He  had  intro- 
duced himself  to  me  as  a  brother  print-collector.  In 
his  house  the  walls  from  cellar  to  garret  were  literally 
covered  with  framed  engravings,  from  the  time  of 


Schongauer  to  our  day,  his  task  being  to  find  a 
specimen  of  every  engraver  or  artist  whose  name  is 
preserved  in  a  dictionary,  and  his  object  in  so  doing 
was  to  present  the  collection  at  last  to  the  Ecole  des 
Beaux  Arts.  He,  too,  had  discovered  that  Saul  of 
Tarsus  was  unworthy  of  his  place  in  the  calendar, 
and  he  had  then  (1879)  published  in  Paris  Le  Vrai 
Saint  Paul,  sa  vie,  sa  mo^^ale  :  a  labour  prompted  by 
a  conscientious  desire  to  disclose  the  truth,  which 
shared  the  same  fate  as  Wornum's  larger  and  com- 
pleter criticism. 

The  prolonged  winter  of  1879-80  was  sadly  fatal 
to  many  old  people.  We  counted  eleven  deaths 
within  the  radius  of  our  coeval  friends,  and  now, 
just  as  the  cold  was  giving  way  to  spring,  though 
still  at  the  end  of  March  the  snow  recurred,  and  the 
icicles  formed  again  as  the  snow  ceased  to  melt,  while 
the  daffodil  persisted  in  opening,  tidings  arrived  of 
the  disappearance  of  Sir  Walter  Trevelyan,  whose 
acquaintance  and  employment  made  to  me  the  most 
important  milestone  in  my  life  journey,  the  vieta 
ultima  marking  the  end  of  the  hard  and  harassed 
period  of  my  uphill  labours  and  family  misfortunes, 
and  the  beginning  of  a  continual  excitement,  and 
the  pleasure  of  many  years  of  success  in  the  pictures 
for  Wallington  and  other  gifts  of  fortune.  He  was 
eighty-two — a  good  age  to  live  up  to  and  to  die  at, 
the  age  at  which  it  is  well  to  die  ;  and  he  died  after 
one  day's  illness,  which  is  also  well.  When  I  saw^ 
him,  even  for  the  first  time,  his  aspect  was  that  of 
indefinite  age,  and  no  change  was  visible  upon  him 


to  the  end.  He  was  a  man  of  the  coolest  tempera- 
ment, yet  constantly  active  in  many  minor  pursuits 
that  did  not  strain  his  intellect,  only  kept  it  occupied, 
avoiding  excitement  of  every  kind,  preserving  as  a 
duty  the  normal  equanimity  of  his  pulse  ;  always 
well  in  health,  which  he  attributed  to  avoiding 
stimulants.  Two  years  ago  he  fell  by  stepping  on  a 
frozen  pool  hidden  under  a  thin  carpet  of  snow, 
putting  his  shoulder  out  and  endangering  his  life, 
and  now  on  the  last  flying  storm  of  the  "  sullen  rear" 
of  another  winter  he  dies.  Of  the  three  charming 
places  he  owned,  Nettlecombe  Court  in  Somerset, 
a  lovely  Elizabethan  mansion  in  an  ancient  deer 
park,  full  of  comfortable  warmth  ;  Seaton-by-the-Sea 
in  the  genial  climate  of  Devon,  the  property  entered 
under  the  family  name  in  Doomsday-book,  he  elected 
to  live  all  the  year  round  at  Wallington  in  Northum- 
berland, where  the  fierce  weather  killed  him  at  last. 
Now  and  then  he  continued  to  write  me,  and  to  en- 
close a  mass  of  printed  papers  of  all  sorts  referring 
to  the  small  reforms  and  benevolent  objects  always 
occupying  him,  and  his  last  communication,  exactly  a 
month  before  his  death,  was  very  characteristic.  He 
says,  "This  is  the  longest  and  severest  w^inter  I 
remember  without  any  appearance  yet  of  its  ending  ;" 
and  he  encloses  a  paper  by  Combe  "On  Voluntary 
Distortions,"  reprinted  from  the  Phrenological  Journal 
of  forty  years  ago,  for  distribution  by  Sir  Walter  ; 
"  Argument  for  a  Popular  Veto  on  the  Liquor 
Traffic,"  by  Sir  Wilfrid  Lawson  ;  a  reprint  of  Lady 
Pauline's    review   of  my  Memoir  of   my    brother ; 

254  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

his  own  pamphlet  "  On  the  Alcohol  and  Opium 
Trades";  "Bishop  Selwyn  and  the  Maine  Law "  ; 
"  On  the  Purity  of  Beer  and  Cider  "  ;  "  Correspond- 
ence with  Thomas  Bewick  on  Certain  Birds"  ;  and 
other  things.  All  these  were  of  the  driest  character. 
He  had  no  humour  ;  in  this  respect  unlike  his  brother 
Arthur,  whose  tract  in  the  shape  of  an  advertisement 
of  "  Death  and  Company's  Foreign  and  British 
Spirits,"  gave  a  glowing  account  of  their  deleterious 
qualities,  ending  with  a  ''  Nota  ^£??Z(?— Sacramental 
wine  always  on  hand!"  When  his  nephew  Alfred 
became  Roman  Catholic,  much  to  the  chagrin  of  the 
head  of  the  house,  one  day  Sir  Walter  was  showing 
us  some  curiosities  in  his  museum  ;  among  other 
things  he  drew  out  of  a  cedar-wood  cabinet  a  drawer 
of  human  bones  picked  up  in  the  Catacombs.  The 
convert  lifted  them,  drawer  and  all,  to  his  nose,  and 
called  out,  "  Oh,  they  have  the  odour  of  sanctity ! 
they  are  the  bones  of  martyrs  !"  The  face  of  Sir 
Walter,  expressing  impassivity  struggling  with  sup- 
pressed derision,  was  a  study,  but  at  last  he  said, 
without  any  perceptible  change  of  voice,  "The 
odour  is  that  of  the  cedar-wood  drawer,  my  boy." 
I  was  glad  to  have  the  note  I  have  mentioned, 
althoueh  it  was  loaded  with  such  a  mass  of  matter 
for  the  waste-basket,  ending  as  it  did  with  a  hope 
that  I  would  come  to  see  him,  and  find  "  The  Way 
to  Wallington,"  thus  quoting  an  old  electioneering 
song  of  his  father's  time,  when  the  intimation  of  his 
final  departure  came  so  soon  after. 

I  like  to  preserve  a  record  of  the  last  of  the  noble 


old  patrician  whose  action  on  my  life  was  so  bene- 
ficial, and  so  shall  transcribe  a  letter  Captain  Perci- 
val  kindly  wrote  me  on  the  occasion  : 

W'ALLINGTON,    \St  April  I  879. 

Dear  Mr.  Scott — You  will,  I  know,  like  to  hear 
some  particulars  respecting  the  end  of  Sir  Walter  Tre- 
velyan,  of  which  event  you  have  already  heard.  It  appears 
he  had  caught  cold  about  a  week  before  ;  but  on  the  day 
before  his  death  he  was  well  enough  to  propose  driving 
over  to  Hallington,  and  only  put  off  so  doing  as  he  thought 
it  might  be  too  cold  for  his  lady. 

That  night  he  had  a  shivering  fit  :  Lady  T.  wished  to 
send  for  the  doctor,  but  he  would  not  allow  her.  He  went 
early  to  bed  and  slept  a  couple  of  hours,  when  he  suddenly 
woke  up  and  said,  "  Tumours  are  forming  on  the  lungs." 
The  doctor  was  immediately  sent  for.  He  came  about 
eight  on  Sunday  morning,  found  the  pulse  quiet,  nothing 
wrong  with  the  lungs,  he  thought,  only  a  slight  tendency  to 
bronchitis,  but  not  to  cause  alarm.  He  left  declaring  he 
saw  no  occasion  to  return  that  day.-"^ 

When  the  post  arrived,  after  reading  his  letters,  Sir 
Walter  dictated  an  answer  to  one  of  them  ;  Lady  T.  left  the 
room  for  only  about  five  or  six  minutes  to  write  this  out  ; 
when  she  returned  he  was  gone  ;  his  eyes  were  closed,  his 
hands  crossed  on  his  chest,  there  was  no  sign  of  a  struggle 
or  a  pang  ;  he  appeared  to  have  passed  away  in  sleep. 
You  will  be  sorry  to  hear  that  poor  Lady  T.,  who  at  first 
could  not  realise  the  fact,  is  now  seriously  ill,  and  from 
one  cause  or  another  has  now  congestion  of  the  lungs. 

The  funeral  took  place  at  Cambo  on  Thursday,  when 
he  was  carried  to  his  grave  by  his  tenants,  of  whom  up- 
wards  of  a    hundred    attended,  in   the  face  of  a  terrible 

1  It  would  have  been  highly  interesting  to  have  made  a  posf- 
inortem,  so  as  to  ascertain  whether  the  tumours  had  really  formed. 
Perhaps  at  that  moment  Sir  Walter,  like  the  "  Seeress  of  Prevorst," 
had  internal  vision. 

256  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

snowstorm,  which  added  a  cruel  wildness  to  the  scene.  I 
remain  here  till  Lady  T.  is  quite  out  of  danger. — Believe 
mc  to  be  yours  sincerely,  G.  R.  Percival. 

P.S. — 2nd  April,  five  o'clock  P.M. —  I  regret  to  say  the 
doctor,  who  has  just  gone,  thinks  the  state  of  Lady  T. 
very  critical. 

Evening. — I  open  this  to  say,  all  is  over. 

This  was  the  second  wife  of  Sir  Walter,  Laura 
Capel  Lofft  before  marriage — not  the  dear  and 
admirable  chatelaine  of  the  period  of  my  intimacy 
with  Wallington.  How  different  they  were,  the  first 
and  the  second  ladies  who  reigned  there  !  Pauline, 
my  never-to-be-forgotten  good  angel ;  small,  quick, 
with  restless  bright  eye  that  nothing  in  heaven  or 
earth  or  under  the  earth  escaped  ;  appreciative,  yet 
trenchant ;  satirical,  yet  kindly  ;  able  to  do  whatever 
she  took  in  hand,  whether  it  was  to  please  her  father 
in  Latin  or  Greek,  or  herself  in  painting  and  music  ; 
intensely  amusing  and  interesting  to  the  men  she 
liked,  understanding  exactly  how  much  she  could 
trust  them  in  conversation  on  dangerous  subjects,  or 
in  how  far  she  could  show  them  she  understood  or 
estimated  them.  This  was  intensified  by  the  want  of 
humour  and  imagination  in  Sir  Walter,  which  must 
have  been  a  grievance,  but  was  only  perceptible  as  a 
secret  amusement  to  her.  When  I  knew  her  first  I  was 
not  learned  in  the  female  character,  my  own  wife  being 
the  most  difficult  of  human  creatures  to  understand. 
She  soon  saw  through  me,  and  was  the  best  of 
friends.  Always  amiable  and  often  com|)Hmentary 
to  strangers,  towards  me  she  had  the  appearance  of 


severity,  rating  me  for  pride,  for  ignorance  of  the 
world,  for  conceit  in  things  below  my  mark,  as  she 
too  kindly  said,  till  at  last  her  young  niece,  then 
called  Kitten,  remonstrated,  thinking  her  more  cruel 
to  Mr.  Scott,  who  was  making  so  many  pictures  for 
the  hall,  than  to  any  one  else !  She  had  been 
married  at  nineteen  or  less,  had  lived  in  Rome  after 
marriage,  and  travelled  on  mule-back  in  Greece  with 
her  husband,  the  most  self-centred,  unaffected,  hicjh- 
intentioned  man  I  ever  knew  ;  and  she  became  in 
many  respects  in  perfect  harmony  with  him.  She 
was  a  true  woman,  but  without  vanity,  and  very 
likely  without  the  passion  of  love. 

When  Sir  Walter  died  he  had  a  volume  nearly 
ready,  called  Selections  from  tJic  Literary  and 
Artistic  Remains  of  Pauline  Jerniyu  Trevelyan, 
one  of  the  essays  in  which  was  the  review  of  my 
Alemoir  of  my  brother,  reprinted  and  enclosed  in 
the  last  letter  of  Sir  Walter  to  me,  with  so  many 
other  things.  This  book  was  edited  by  his  secretary 
David  Wooster  ;  but  it  is  to  me  a  caput  nwrtutnn,  so 
great  is  the  difference  often  between  the  personality 
and  the  prepared  productions  of  many  individuals. 
Still  let  me  copy  out  one  of  her  poems  that  my  pages 
may  possess  something  by  her  ; 


It  was  a  squalid  street,  in  truth, 
Where  crime  and  misery  cowered  side  by  side. 
Where  wretched  infancy  and  ruined  youth 
And  helpless  hopeless  age,  swam  down  the  deathward  tide. 

VOL.  II  S 


Redly  the  sunset  came 
Flickering  on  high,  far  up  the  blackened  walls, 
Less  like  heaven's  light  than  that  unhallowed  flame 
Lit  by  exulting  hands  when  some  sad  city  falls. 

All  through  the  impure  air 
Came  sounds  of  grief  and  wickedness  and  strife, 
Sickness  and  childhood  moaned  unheeded  there. 
Drowned  in  the  turmoil  of  discordant  life. 

When  high  above  the  din 
Rang  the  shrill  bagpipes  of  the  mountaineer  ! 
Strains  born  of  pastoral  glen  and  rock-pent  linn 
Had  joined  the  meaner  misery  walled-up  here. 

Coarse  was  the  hand  that  played, 
Without  one  touch  of  feeling  or  of  fire, 
Yet  by  the  rugged  notes  were  strifes  allayed. 
And  pallid  children  danced  amid  the  mire. 

Oh,  brother  mortals,  hail  ! 
Sinful  and  sorrowful,  yet  brethren  still, 
Come  from  your  loathsome  dens,  your  garments  stale. 
Our  inmost  souls  meet  in  that  music's  thrill. 

I  mused  and  passed  away 
From  that  dark  street  to  where  sweet  Avon  flows, 
'Midst  gleaming  rock,  soft  grass,  and  woodland  spray, 
And  nature's  primal  voice  on  my  tired  ear  arose. 

Go  ask  yon  mountain  rill, 
Why  it  makes  unheard  music  to  the  woods — 
W^hy  do  the  wild-flowers  paint  the  soulless  hills. 
And  cloud  and  sunbeam  play  over  the  ocean's  floods  ? 

But  what  if  angels'  eyes 
Are  gazing  downwards  on  those  unknown  streets  ? 
Ah,  what  if  angel  melodies  arise 
Echoing  those  notes  far  off  in  heaven's  retreats ! 


For  what  can  Art  do  more 
Than  waken  childhood's  feehngs  by  her  voice  ; 
Make  pure  tears  gush  from  founts  long  sealed  before, 
And  saddened  hearts  obey  its  summons  to  rejoice  ? 

This  is  better  in  an  intellectual  than  in  a  rhyth- 
mical point  of  view,  and  after  all  I  think  it  not  one 
of  her  best ;  and  the  pictorial  portion  of  the  publica- 
tion is  very  inferior  to  what  she  accomplished  in 
aiding  the  decoration  of  the  hall.  The  extraordinary 
Will  he  left  kept  Sir  Walter's  name  before  the  public 
for  some  time  after  his  death.  He  left  the  authorities 
of  the  British  Museum,  National  Gallery,  and  other 
public  institutions,  permission  to  select  what  they 
chose  from  his  collections.  The  director  of  the  latter 
institution  went  down  to  Wallington  a  few  months 
later  to  see  if  he  could  avail  himself  of  Sir  Walter's 
offer.  Here  is  Sir  Frederick  Burton's  letter  to  me 
on  his  return  : 

43  Argyll  Road,  W.,  z\st  August  1S79. 

My  dear  Scott — I  have  been  down  to  Wallington, 
and  have  been  fortunate  in  two  fine  days  there.  Sir  Charles 
and  Lady  Trevelyan  have  been  very  kind  and  hospitable. 
I  enjoyed  my  visit,  but  came  away  empty-handed.  There 
was  nothing  placed  at  our  disposal  [i.e.  of  the  National 
Gallery)  by  the  Will,  which  I  felt  in  the  least  tempted  to 
lay  claim  to. 

The  place,  its  contents,  and  its  associations,  strongly 
interested  me.  Above  all,  I  was  pleased  to  see  again 
your  compositions  for  the  hall.  They  are  as  fresh  as  ever; 
and  the  imagination  and  thought  manifested  in  them,  the 
great  excellence  and  fulness  of  the  composition  in  each, 
their  originality  and  variety,  engaged  me  as  much  as  when 
I  saw  them  in  London — it  must  be  about  twenty  years 
ago.      It  is  only  to  be  regretted  that  the  necessities  of  the 

26o  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

case  involved  their  being  placed  so  low  down  ;  for,  although 
their  horizon  is  no  doubt  calculated  for  that  position,  I 
think  they  would  look  better  and  be  better  seen  if  placed 
much  higher.  I  have  little  doubt  you  would  have  made 
them  fit  the  arches,  but  that,  of  course,  a  space  to  light 
the  passages  behind  was  indispensable.  I  was  also  inter- 
ested in  the  twin  portraits  of  yourself  and  your  brother 
(these  ought  to  be  in  the  Scottish  Academy).  And  again, 
in  the  early  water-colour  by  Rossetti. 

I  had  so  often  heard  you  and  others  speak  of  Sir 
Walter,  and  the  whole  place  was  so  redolent  of  him  as  an 
individuality,  that  a  strange  feeling  of  sadness  haunted  me, 
as  I,  although  for  the  first  time,  wandered  about  it,  now  in 
other  hands,  and  likely  to  undergo  some  changes.  They 
are  going  to  make  an  alteration  in  the  entrance,  by  push- 
ing the  hall  and  its  pillars  some  feet  forward,  enlarging 
the  entrance  hall  by  throwing  down  the  partition  on  the 
left,  diminishing  the  size  of  the  ante-room  where  the  cases 
of  porcelain  are,  and  so  opening  a  way  from  the  door 
direct  to  the  great  central  hall.  This  will  be  an  improve- 
ment, and  will  admit  of  there  being  an  inner  glass  door 
to  keep  out  winter  draughts.  However,  both  Sir  Charles 
and  Lady  T.  seem  anxious  to  make  as  few  changes  as 

The  British  Museum  people  took  away  a  good  many 
things  from  Wallington  :  porcelain,  coins,  etc.  A  residue 
of  Sir  Walter's  museum  goes  to  Newcastle.  But  the 
terms  of  the  Will  v/ith  its  sixteen  codicils  are  somewhat 
complicated.  While  there  I  slept  in  that  delightful  room 
lined  and  furnished  with  Miss  Julia  Calverly's  work  in 
embroidery.  Bless  the  dear  soul,  her  works  give  more 
pleasure  than  those  of  some  of  our  contemporaries  in  art 
are  likely  to  do  one  hundred  and  eighty  years  hoice  !  I 
hope  to  get  off  abroad  towards  the  middle  of  September  ; 
till  then  I  am  here. — Ever  yours,  F.  W.  BuRTON. 

The  "  twin  portraits  "  mentioned  are  two  cabinet- 
size  pictures,  one  of  my  brother    David  by   R.    S. 

xvi  SIR    WALTER   TREVELYAN  261 

Lauder,  of  the  Scottish  Academy,  and  the  other  of 
■  myself  by  Waite,  both  very  well  executed  ;  they  are 
now  at  Nettlecombe  Court  in  Somerset.  The 
elaborate  Will  referred  to  was  unfortunate,  suggest- 
ing actions  at  law,  which  were,  however,  gradually 
compromised  ;  the  most  amusing  item  was  the 
bequest  of  his  immense  cellar  of  wines  to  Dr.  B.  W. 
Richardson,  a  brother  in  temperance  agitation,  to 
be  "employed  for  scientific  purposes."  This  cellar 
contained  perhaps  the  rarest  collection  in  the  world. 
Under  Lady  Pauline's  rule  wine  was  to  be  seen  on 
the  dinner- table ;  I  remember  a  visitor  on  one 
occasion,  after  a  glass  of  the  port  laid  down 
by  Sir  Walter's  father,  offering  to  be  a  purchaser 
of  the  whole  at  a  guinea  a  bottle.  Sir  Walter 
declined  the  transaction,  quietly  adding,  "  No,  I 
mean  to  have  the  whole  carried  out  some  day  and 
emptied  into  the  Wansbeck  !  "  Dr.  Richardson  told 
me  when  the  lawyer's  first  letter  arrived  he  believed 
it  was  an  April  trick,  but  the  key  followed,  and  con- 
firmed the  letter. 

The  lists  sent  him  included  nearly  thirty  kinds 
of  wines  and  spirits,  but  a  great  proportion  was  lost 
by  decay  of  the  corks.  Still  from  sixty  to  eighty 
dozen  labelled  and  entered  in  a  book  appeared  in 
London,  affording  a  delightful  subject  to  the  daily 
papers,  from  one  of  which  I  preserved  an  extract 
which  I  may  enter  here  : 

These  were  the  most  precious  contents  of  the  cellar  as 
Sir  Walter  Trevelyan  found  it  thirty  years  ago,  when  he 
sold  the  common   poisons,  but  kept  these  heirlooms  even 

262  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

as  another  man  might  keep  a  bottle  of  aqtia  tofana  which 
had  been  distilled  by  Rene,  the  Florentine,  for  Catherine 
de  Medicis.  Most  of  it  was  carefully  dated,  and  the 
oldest  liquid  of  all,  the  Tokay  and  St.  George,  both  of 
1752,  were  said  to  be  bought  of  Edward  Wortley,  and 
may  possibly  have  been  fellows  to  wine  tasted  by  Lady 
Mary  herself  There  were  Magnums  of  Hock  of  1777, 
an  age,  if  we  mistake  not,  hardly  to  be  paralleled  in  the 
most  famous  cellars  on  the  Rhine  itself,  where  the  opera- 
tions of  the  French  patriots  were  far  from  favourable  to 
the  conservation  of  vintages.  There  was  Cyprus  of  1762, 
which  we  are  told  M.  Gennadius,  the  Greek  minister, 
pronounces  "  superb."  Sherry-sack,  "  of  date  unknown," 
may  have  been  of  a  vintage  consumed  by  Shakespeare 
himself  for  aught  that  we  know  ;  and  Malmsey,  also  of 
unknown  date,  duly  suggests  to  Dr.  Richardson  the  Duke 
of  Clarence.  There  was  port  of  1784,  which  we  are 
rather  surprised  to  find  was  also  pronounced  magnificent, 
though  it  is  generally  held  that  fifty  or  sixty  years  is  the 
utmost  life  of  drinkable  port  wine.  Some  Arrack  of 
extraordinary  age  even  made  Dr.  Richardson  or  somebody 
else  write  a  poem  of  an  anti-Bacchic  but  still  panegyrical 
character.  After  these  things  dates  with  the  figure  i  8  at 
their  left  seem  quite  modern  and  scarcely  worth  re- 

All  this  wine  inherited  by  Sir  Walter  recalls  to 
my  mind  a  saying  of  his,  one  night  when  his  gout 
was  so  bad  he  had  to  ascend  the  stair  on  his  knees. 
I,  carrying  the  light,  suggested  that  he  might  console 
himself  by  reflecting  that  he  had  not  himself  to 
blame.  "  No  !  "  he  rejoined,  "  my  father  and  grand- 
father drank  the  port  and  I  came  in  for  the  gout !" 

I  have  mentioned  the  laudation  of  George  Eliot 
which  followed  her  death.  That  which  followed  on 
the  demise  of  Carlyle  was  almost  as  great,  till  the 


direct  honesty  of  speech  in  his  Reminiscences  turned 
the  tide  of  praise  into  something  hke  a  howl  of 
execration  not  altogether  to  be  accounted  for.  I 
was  on  the  committee  to  further  the  erection  of 
Boehm's  admirable  statue.  At  first  the  subscrip- 
tions swarmed  in  :  then  the  Reminiscences  appeared, 
and  there  was  no  more  money  to  be  got ! 




These  memorials  sadly  portending  the  winding  up 
of  my  autobiographic  notes,  like  the  curfew  to  the 
parting  day,  will  only  be  prolonged  by  the  commem- 
oration of  one  or  perhaps  two  more  of  those  friends 
whose  names  have  appeared  in  the  earlier  pages.  A 
few  years  after  my  undertaking  the  Government 
School  of  Design  work  in  the  North,  I  received  a  note 
from  Sunderland,  very  queerly  spelt  but  rather  ably 
expressed,  inquiring  what  steps  were  necessary  to 
obtain  an  institution  in  that  town  similar  to  that  I 
had  inaugurated  in  Newcastle,  and  also  expressing 
some  hints  that  the  writer  was  agitating  for  a  Free 
Library  on  the  plan  then  promulgated  of  a  public 
penny  tax.  Similar  letters  had  reached  me  before, 
to  which  I  had  replied  with  punctuality,  as  I  now 
did  to  Sunderland.  A  deputation  was  immediately 
arranged,  and  I  of  course  expected  to  find  the 
mayor,  or  an  alderman,  or  two  shipbuilders, 
or  other  important  worthies,  ready  to  come 
forward   with   funds   and    influence,    but    instead   of 


those,  Thomas  Dixon,  the  writer  of  the  first  letter, 
and  three  or  four  other  working  men  presented 

A  little   taken    by  surprise  at   first,    I    received 
them  in  the  same  spirit  and  with  the  same  attention 
as  if  they  had  been  the  most  important  persons  the 
town  could  show,  and  was  very  agreeably  interested 
by  their  confessing  that  they  were  only  carpenters, 
and    that    their    leader    Dixon    was    a    cork-cutter. 
"  Not  that  I  could  benefit  by  such  an  institution  as 
we  want,"  said  that  gentleman,  "but  I  want  to  see 
my   native   town    possess   the    great   advantages   of 
having  a  School  of  Art.      I   have  no  talent,   but   I 
know  several  who   have,  and   I   come   to  speak  for 
them."     This  was  another  example  of  a  power  of 
self-dependence  and  unegotlstic  manhood  I  had  met 
in  the  North,  such  as  it  would  be  vain  to  look  for 
anywhere  else  in  England.      It  had  nothing  to  do 
with   politics,   there  was   neither  pretence    of  their 
ability  to   carry   such   a   scheme   forward  nor   com- 
plaint against  the  magnates  of  the  locality  for  not 
doing    more.     On    the   contrary   they  took   up   the 
common-sense  position  that  people  who  could  have 
expensive  teaching,  and  had  plenty  of  books  in  their 
own  homes,  did  not  need  to  care  for  public  schools 
and  libraries,  but  that  they,  the  workmen,  wanted  to 
help  themselves. 

All  these  men  I  knew  afterwards.  One  of  them, 
Pickering  by  name,  was  not  a  carpenter  but  a  printer, 
and  had  secretly  practised  design,  with  a  view  to 
illustration,  showing  an  amount  of  power  unaccount- 

266  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

able  in  one  who  had  no  other  teaching  than  what  he 
could  give  himself  by  the  purchase  of  a  few  books 
such  as  he  could  afford.  But  Dixon  was  the  one 
who  affected  me  most,  and  who  continued  for  the 
rest  of  his  life  to  look  upon  my  occasional  advice 
and  entertainment  of  his  ideas  with  a  sort  of  proud 
gratitude,  all  the  while  he  was  effectually  carrying 
out  in  a  quiet  unostentatious  way  schemes  that  made 
me  feel  my  own  deficiencies  as  an  agitator.  This 
letter-writing  to  every  one  who  appeared  to  him 
worthy  of  admiration  in  any  way  brought  him  in 
contact  and  into  correspondence  with  many  illustrious 
and  powerful  people,  who,  I  found  afterwards,  had 
waved  aside  the  want  of  education  so  visible  in  his 
letters,  and  had  received  him  as  a  friend  and  equal. 
Both  the  Free  Library  and  the  School  of  Art  were 
established  in  Sunderland.  I  must  not  say  through 
his  activity,  but  had  he  not,  day  and  night,  I  may 
say,  kept  these  proposed  institutions  before  the  eyes 
of  his  own  class  as  well  as  before  the  authorities,  it 
is  very  doubtful  whether  Sunderland  would  have 
been  so  early  in  the  field.  Not  only  was  a  School 
of  Art  instituted  but  a  local  gallery  of  pictures, 
open  to  the  public,  established  in  connection  there- 
with. He  it  was  to  whom  Ruskin  wrote  the 
"Letters  to  a  working  man,"  afterwards  published 
by  him.  Had  he  interleaved  his  own  letters 
with  those  of  his  correspondent,  as  Dixon  said 
he  at  first  proposed  to  do,  the  book  would 
have  been  more  interesting  and  dramatic,  if  less 


Dixon  had  a  constant  habit  of  picking  up  curious 
things  and  books  of  a  peculiar  kind,  and  sending 
them  to  such  of  his  friends  as  might,  in  his  phrase, 
"  make  a  better  use  of  them  than  he  coukl  do."  He 
knew  instinctively  what  would  interest  certain  men. 
and  through  his  agency  I  have  received  several 
pieces  of  peculiar  literary  knowledge  I  might  have 
otherwise  missed.  One  of  these  books  was  Walt 
Whitman's  Leaves  of  Grass.  It  was  seen  by  him  in 
some  quantity  in  the  stock  of  a  sort  of  peddler-book- 
seller who  had  been  in  America.  He  sent  it  me  ; 
and  I  at  once  invested  in  other  copies,  one  of  which 
I  sent  to  W.  M.  Rossetti,  as  has  been  mentioned 
previously  in  these  notes,  who  after  an  interval  of 
some  years  brought  out  the  edition  that  made  the 
new  development  known  to  the  English  public,  and 
largely  conduced  to  the  changed  position  of  Whit- 
man in  America, 

About  the  beginning  of  1879,  seeing  in  one  of 
the  illustrated  American  magazines  an  article  about 
the  author  of  Leaves  of  Grass  and  his  book,  ignoring 
altogether  the  critical  influence  of  England  in  respect 
to  the  fame  of  Walt,  I  conceived  the  idea  of  asking 
Dixon  particularly  how  he  got  the  copies  I  had  from 
him.      His  answer  is  worth  preserving  : 

I  will  tell  you  willingly  [he  says]  about  the  first  copies 
of  the  Leaves  of  Gi-ass,  which  are  still  dear  to  me  from 
the  association  of  the  man  who  brought  them  here,  and 
because  I,  at  least,  knew  by  whom  Walt  Whitman  would 
be  valued.  There  is  a  plan  of  dealing  in  books  called 
hand -selling,  which   is   selling   by  a   kind   of  auction,  the 

268  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

dealers  who  adopt  this  plan  not  being  lawfully-qualified 
auctioneers.  The  value  (upset  price;  of  a  book  is  gradu- 
ally reduced  till  somebody  takes  it.  Say  it  starts  at  five 
shillings,  then  it  is  reduced  less  and  less,  till  it  comes  to  a 
shilling  or  sixpence.  A  man  came  here  at  that  time  (I 
think  it  must  have  been  about  the  beginning  of  the  year 
1856),  James  Grindrod  by  name,  following  this  trade,  with  a 
stock  of  books  that  had  missed  their  market,  or  had  never 
been  rightly  published  at  all.  Long  after  this — long  after 
the  American  War  was  finished — he  came  back  again  to 
Sunderland  and  recommenced  the  bookselling  trade  in  the 
old  way,  but  his  wife  (from  whom  he  had  separated,  though 
he  had  left  her  in  a  comfortable  way  of  business;  being 
still  here,  made  him  soon  leave  the  town  again.  I  was 
ver>'  sorry  for  this,  because  he  used  to  bring  such  lots  of 
wonderful  curious  books — books  you  don't  in  a  regular 
way  see.  Since  then  we  have  never  had  a  man  like  him 
in  this  trade.  He  used  to  come  and  take  tea  with  me  on 
the  Sunday  afternoons,  and  then  I  found  out  he  had  been 
in  the  thick  of  the  American  Civil  War  as  well  as  Whit- 
man. He  did  not  care  to  speak  of  his  war  experiences, 
only  my  sympathy  used  to  draw  him  out,  for  I  longed  to 
hear  how  they  had  pulled  through.  He  had  joined  one 
of  the  States  regiments,  and  was  most  part  of  the  time  in 
the  army  led  by  General  Sherman.  He  was  with  Sher- 
man in  all  the  fearful  raids  towards  the  end,  and  was  often 
without  food,  and  was  many  times  compelled  to  eat  almost 
an v-thing, however  loathsome,  they  could  find  during  arduous 
marches  in  the  wasted  countrj^ ;  he  saw  many  men  drop 
down  and  die  for  want  of  food.  "  But  when  we  did  reach 
the  depots  where  food  was,  we  were  all  taken  very  good 
care  of  and  nursed  ;  but  I  never  in  all  my  life  experienced 
any  trial  like  that  want  of  food  during  these  raids."  He 
was  with  Sherman  at  the  taking  of  Atlanta,  and  then  he 
got  his  discharge  with  others  of  the  men  who  had  done 
the  same  hard  ser\ice. 

He  would  not  remain  in  Sunderland,  though  he  could 
sell  his  books.      He  travelled  about,  went  into  Lancashire, 


and  there  he  met  his  death  in  a  railway  colHsion  in  a 
tunnel  a  year  or  two  afterwards.  So  you  now  have  the 
history  of  the  book. 

It  will  be  remembered  that  the  first  edition,  a 
large  thin  book  with  a  small  portrait  of  the  author, 
had  no  publisher's  name  on  its  title-page,  and  was 
never  seen  on  the  counter  nor  in  the  list  of  anv 
American  bookseller.  Emerson  had  written  a  sineu- 
larly  laudatory  letter  to  Whitman  privately,  which 
the  latter  made  public  as  far  as  he  could,  but  only  in 
the  obscurest  way  ;  so  that  we  may  say  that  but  for 
this  travelling  bookseller  with  his  "  hand-sale "  of 
queer  volumes  that  had  scarcely  ever  seen  the  light 
of  day.  the  Leaves  of  Grass  might  never  have  reached 
this  country  at  all. 

The  last  time  we  saw  Dixon  was  in  London,  so 
lately  as  in  July  iSSo.  He  had  saved  money,  and 
felt  himself  to  be  independent  of  his  trade,  which  he 
never  liked,  its  patrons  being  mainly  the  public- 
houses  and  gin-palaces  of  the  Tyne  and  Wear.  He 
was  forty-nine  years  of  age,  but  his  thin  white  face, 
with  its  rather  noble  profile,  indicated  a  feeble  body, 
contrastino-  with  the  laroe  strono^  ficrure  of  his 
travelling  companion,  Skipsey  the  pitman,  and 
author  of  a  volume  of  poems  possessing  consider- 
able charm  from  their  expression  of  some  features 
of  the  writer's  daily  life.  One  of  the  smaller  poems 
of  this  class,  called  Get  Up !  was  considerably 
quoted,  and  Burne-Jones,  going  out  to  stay  a  day 
or  two  with  the  Premier,  INIr.  Gladstone,  took  the 
book   in   his   pocket   and  read   this   poem    to    Miss 

270  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

Gladstone,  which  reading  resulted  in  her  father 
getting  Skipsey  placed  on  the  Civil  Pension  List — 
for  a  very  small  sum,  it  is  true,  being  only  ^lo  ;  but 
the  honour  was  worth  more  to  him.  These  two 
good  men  and  true  were  well  received  and  enter- 
tained by  many  illustrious  persons  besides  Burne- 
Jones  and  his  wife,  who  took  Dixon  to  see  the 
Grosvenor  Gallery.  He  had  just  managed  to  make 
a  besfinnino-  with  the  establishment  of  the  Picture 
Gallery  for  Sunderland,  in  which  several  of  us  aided 
him.  One  evening  he  came  on  to  Bellevue,  having 
just  left  Carlyle,  who  had  received  him,  though  then, 
in  the  last  twelve  months  of  his  long  life,  he  habit- 
ually resisted  the  inroads  of  all  visitors.  Dixon  sat 
down,  looking  tired  and  worn,  and  told  me  where 
he  had  been,  going  on  thus  :  "  Mr.  Carlyle  looked 
at  me  very  sadly,  and  said,  '  When  a  man  lives  to 
be  as  old  as  I  am,  you  see,  he  is  about  ready  to  go, 
and  willing  to  be  done  with  all  this  turmoil  about 
him  here.'  This  was  his  speech  to  me,  and  I  am 
sure  his  life  is  sad,  and  the  words  he  spoke  were 
sincere  ;  he  is  a  lonely  man,  and  has  been  for  long, 
maybe  for  all  his  life."  Saying  this,  Dixon's  eyes 
filled  with  tears  ;  he,  too,  felt  himself  a  lonely  man. 
His  wife  died  a  good  many  years  ago,  leaving  him 
two  sons,  to  one  of  whom  I  stood  godfather.  The 
elder  of  these  became  a  sailor,  and  was  washed  over- 
board in  a  storm  ;  the  other  resisted  the  education 
his  father  wanted  to  give  him  and  took  himself  off 
to  Australia.  I  sympathised  profoundly  with  this 
middle-aged  man,  old   before  his   time,   as  well   as 


with  his  friend  Skipsey,  able-bodied  and  slow,  con- 
tented with  his  fate,  feeling  it  in  his  own  hand, 
happy  with  his  crowd  of  children  and  the  mild 
appreciation  of  a  few  friends  more  cultivated  than 

He  was  to   leave    London   next   day,   and  in  a 
week  or  so  after  he  suddenly  died — simply  ceased 
to  exist  when  the  servant  had  left  his  bedside  after 
o-ivino;  him  some  breakfast.      The  information  came 
to  me  from  William  Brockie,  as  admirable  a  man  as 
either  of  these,  and,  it  may  be,  abler ;  an  Oriental 
scholar   who    has    published    some    really    compre- 
hensive and  enlightened  short  expositions  of  Hindoo 
philosophy,  badly  printed  and  unnoticed,  their  author 
living  among  men  who  take  no  note  of  such  things. 
D.  G.  R.  was  much  affected  by  the  disappearance  of 
the  excellent  Dixon.     He  wrote  me  on  the  occasion  : 
"He  was  a  good  man  if  ever  there  w^as  one.      I  fear 
poor  Skipsey,  who  is  of  a  tougher  mould,  will  miss 
him  very  seriously.      But  much  as  I  admire  Skipsey, 
I  feel  it  is  of  little  use  to  speak  of  him  as  a  poet  >  the 
metal  is  too  coarse  ;  it  is  not  beaten,  but  cast."     I 
assisted   in   getting  a  bust  of  this  simple  and- true 
public  servant  executed  for  the  Sunderland   Picture 
Gallery  by  Boehm,  and  a  portrait  of  him  was  placed 
without  my  aid  in  the  Free  Library.     At  the  public 
meeting  on  the  occasion  of  this  portrait  being  pre- 
sented, a  letter  from   Max  M tiller  was  read,  full  of 
such  loving  admiration,  I  preserved  it  from  the  daily 
waste,  and  still  further  preserve  an  extract  from  it 
here  : 



sT-  -ST  3:s%!33r  iiEfcr  :ite  ^xn^  ic-       ~ 

^  cr  ie  i:  .  ,-  :h:«  ^'  -fiE  Iffi'  ^aiL  fi3*c  :rs& 

^p— -    -----  ^  ^      - 

.:?  -Sent.  ifetlimr-citaasaK.     TxT^ 


i-  j«it7£  Bme  ifedn.  Jiir  rszar^s  i£  lii 

iV:.-.:       Tit  ics:  i£  ~iEse  I  sial  narmg^  s  Ajeaiar^ 

Ite_._:_ _  ^    __i   _:^_^: -  -v^-^  -rm.^ 

!Z:  T,??<T  ^MT,  I'Sf-rr  jEI   TTTTIT  JTif^  HCgTJTlf^^r      ^ 

-211.      Ac  tEce  asme  zmE.   iiiiw?s!??^r:   is,   "rier"   t 
"rt—'r^   _  ■    lie  ?  i-Z-  i^jmF'^rEa:  T7^TT^^^F  -trtt 

^^^x.  X 

274  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

art  which  EngHsh  taste  and  the  R.  Academy  as  the 
mechocre  exponent  of  the  same  would  Hke  to  crush 
out  of  existence.  He  began  to  get  into  deep  water, 
and  into  the  hands  of  20  per  cent  money-lenders. 
Still  he  fought  bravely  with  his  difficulties,  and  even 
when  his  large  salary  was  placed  under  trustees,  he 
went  on  with  his  historic  subjects.  An  anecdote 
regarding  one  of  these  I  must  give,  as  showing  how 
a  picture,  like  an  action  in  actual  life,  is  capable  of 
even  opposite  interpretations.  At  this  time  Mr. 
Peter  Stewart,  shipowner,  of  Liverpool,  realising  a 
vast  fortune,  had  built  a  great  gallery  for  pictures,  and 
visited  Burchett  to  see  his  latest  work.  Stewart  was 
an  extreme  Radical  in  religious  and  political  creeds, 
a  companion  of  my  dear  friend  W.  J.  Linton  in  the 
benevolent  action  of  securing  food  and  lodging  for 
a  whole  shipload  of  Polish  refugees.  The  subject 
of  Burchett's  picture  was  the  priest  bearing  the 
sacred  elements,  thus  barring  the  way  and  prevent- 
ing the  conquerors  after  the  Battle  of  Tewkesbury 
from  invading  the  church,  sword  in  hand,  where 
their  discomfited  enemies  were  sheltered.  Burchett 
had  chosen  the  subject  as  a  glorious  example  of  the 
power  of  the  Church  and  the  faith  of  the  jDrince  at 
that  blessed  period  in  Merry  England.  Stewart 
looked  a  long  time  at  the  picture,  admired  the 
armour  and  the  priest's  cope  and  the  monstrance  he 
held,  and  at  last  spoke  out.  "  I  admire  the  picture, 
Mr.  Burchett,  it  is  excellently  painted,  and  I  like  it 
for  its  subject  ;  these  men  in  full  armour  won't  go 
in,  they  won't  end   the  day   completely   after  risk- 


ing  all  their  lives,  because  of  that  old  priest  with 
the  jack-in-the-box !  Superstition,  you  see,  turns 
them  into  caitiffs ! "  This  knocked  over  poor 
Burchett  so  much,  the  transaction  came  to  nothing. 
Indeed,  everything  went  amiss  with  him,  and  he 
died  in  what  should  have  been  the  middle  of  his 

The  other  artist  I  have  to  mention  here  is  a 
contrast  to  Richard  Burchett,  Much  associated 
with  him  in  the  examination  of  the  works  of  the 
Provincial  schools,  not  at  all  in  private  life,  I  never 
looked  upon  him  as  an  artist.  This  was  Solomon 
Hart,  whose  two  great  successes  were  his  election 
into  the  Academy,  and  into  the  Athenaeum  Club, 
where  he  dined  every  day  and  only  went  home  to 
bed.  He,  too,  had  tried  the  large  historic  canvas. 
His  subject,  the  "  Execution  of  Lady  Jane  Grey," 
I  remember  very  long  ago, — it  must  have  been,  I 
think,  when,  as  a  boy,  I  drew  a  few  months  in  the 
British  Museum.  It  was  not  at  all  like  Burchett's 
works,  capable  of  suggesting  anything  to  anybody  ; 
it  was  only  a  row  of  beef-eaters,  larger  than  life,  in 
red  loose  jerkins,  and  above  them,  on  a  high  shelf, 
a  young  woman  in  black,  with  a  bishop  in  white 
lawn,  and  an  executioner.  He  never  tried  the  large 
historic  again,  but  somehow  the  Royal  Academy 
rewarded  him  by  adoption.  He  was  very  learned 
in  the  prices  English  artists  had  been  in  the  habit 
of  receiving,  amazingly  small  until  our  own  day ; 
he  assured  me  that  neither  Stothard,  nor  any  of  his 
contemporaries,  nor  any  earlier  artist  up  to  Richard 

276  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

Wilson,  inclusive — except  the  two  great  portrait- 
painters — made  more  than,  or  so  much  as,  three 
hundred  pounds  a  year.  I  have  found  a  place  for 
dear  old  Solomon  Hart  here,  in  spite  of  his  contin- 
ual habit  of  punning,  even  scheming  to  introduce  a 
pun  for  half  an  hour,  and  after  all  our  having  politely 
to  laugh  at  it  for  the  twentieth  time.  My  reason  for 
doinof  so  is  that  at  his  funeral  in  the  Hebrew 
Cemetery  I  discovered  the  origin  of  the  words 
Reqtdescat  in  Pace,  still  used  by  the  Roman 
Catholic  Church  in  the  obituaries,  and  on  grave- 
stones of  the  faithful,  a  form  of  record  on  a  Chris- 
tian grave  which  has  all  my  life  been  a  puzzle  to 
me.  On  every  upright  gravestone  —  and  every 
grave  had  a  similar  upright  stone — I  observed  three 
Hebrew  words  inserted  towards  the  end  of  every 
inscription,  the  rest  being  in  English.  These 
words,  my  informant,  who  was  a  Hebrew,  told  me, 
were  only  translatable  "  May  he  rest  in  peace," 
exactly  the  same  as  the  Romanist  inscription  "  Re- 
quiescat  in  Pace,"  and  they  had  been  in  use  he 
said,  time  out  of  mind  by  the  Chosen  People.  Why 
should  this  remain  still  in  use  with  us  Christians, 
whose  boast  it  is  that  "  Immortality  has  been 
brought  to  light  through  the  Gospel,"  to  whom, 
therefore,  death  is  the  opposite  of  eternal  sleep, 
an  awakening  to  a  higher  life  ?  The  truth  seems 
to  be,  that  the  earliest  Christians  in  Rome 
were  Jews,  whose  graves  in  the  catacombs  con- 
tinued to  be  so  inscribed,  and  these  again  were 
imitated    by    later    converts ;    and    so    the    form    of 


inscription  continued  to  be  ignorantly  followed 
afterwards  by  the  Church,  even  down  to  this  nine- 
teenth century !  Such  is  the  tenacity  of  life  in 
religious  usages,  when  they  have  once  become 


ARTISTIC    INQUIRIES,    1879-80 

I  MAY  enter  here,  a  better  opportunity  being  want- 
ing, certain  speculations  of  more  or  less  artistic 
interest,  which  came  in  my  way  in  these  late  days 
of  literary  loitering.  One  of  the  most  inventive 
and  superb  designs  of  Hans  Sebald  Beham  is  the 
large  woodcut  representing  the  "  Fountain  of  Re- 
juvenescence." A  picture  by  Lucas  Cranach,  at 
Berlin,  has  long  been  a  point  of  attraction  to 
imaginative  visitors  ;  in  both  of  these  works  the  old 
people  totter  along  or  are  carried  to  the  bath  or 
Fountain,  which  in  Beham's  print — a  woodcut  of 
about  four  feet  long — is  a  large  water  surrounded 
by  a  grand  Renaissance  colonnade,  under  which  the 
renovated  men  and  women,  active  and  handsome  in 
the  prime  of  middle  life,  sport  together.  In  writing 
about  the  Little  Masters  I  tried  to  find  the  origin 
of  this  myth  in  mediaeval  times,  but  Dr.  Litdedale 
assured  me  it  was  not  at  all  an  old  fable,  but  one 
brought  home  from  the  Caribbean  Sea  by  mariners 
following  the  discoveries  in  the  New  World.  In 
all  histories  of  these  wonderful  discoveries  we  find 

CHAP.  xviH         ARTISTIC  INQUIRIES,   iSjg-So  279 

the  account  of  Juan  Ponce  de  Leon  spending  years 
vainly  looking  for  the  problematic  island  called 
Bimini,  where  the  equally  problematic  fountain  of 
youth  existed.  But  then  Ponce  was  only  contem- 
porary with  the  Little  Masters,  and  Sir  Frederick 
Burton  told  me  he  believed  there  was  a  picture 
attributed  to  Dirk  Stuerbout,  who  died  in  1475,  of 
this  subject,  and  I  found  in  Passavant  a  print  de- 
scribed under  the  heading  "  Le  maitre  de  1464," 
representing  a  hexagonal  bason  in  which  are  men 
and  women  ;  men  being  seen  carrying  their  wives 
towards  the  bason,  and  one  throwing  his  wife  into 
it.  Behind  the  side  of  the  bason  is  a  man  standing 
in  complete  armour,  and  on  the  ground  at  his  feet 
are  the  words  Hie  est  fons  jtLventutis.  The  same 
print  is  entered  by  Bartsch  under  the  heading 
"  Anonymes  du  XV  Siecle."  Sir  Frederick  was  so 
much  interested  in  the  inquiry  that  he  followed  it 
out  to  some  extent,  as  the  following  letter  indicates. 

43  Argyll  Road,  lotJi  December  1S79. 
My  dear  Scott — That  question  about  the  "  Fountain 
of  Youth  "  is  a  curious  one,  and  it  would  be  pleasant  to 
see  it  cleared  up.  It  may  be  that  Dr.  Littledale  has 
substantial  grounds  for  his  statement.  I  mean,  that  it  is 
not  founded  upon  negative  conclusions  merely.  But  one 
would  like  to  know  what  those  grounds  are.  Considering 
the  remote  antiquity  and  the  universality  of  the  attribu- 
tion (often  well-founded)  to  springs  and  fountains  of 
curative  and  renovating  virtues — and  the  superstitions 
which  amongst  every  people  have  sprung  out  of  this 
belief,  with  myths  and  legends  of  all  sorts  connected  with 
them,  the  one  extraordinary  thing  would  be  to  find  no 
notion  of  a  fountain   which  not  only  healed  diseases,  but 

28o  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

restored  youth  to  the  decrepit.  Such  a  notion  would 
seem  tlie  most  natural  possible  in  legendary  fancies  and 
in  myth-making  times. 

Yet  I  must  confess  that  I  have  in  vain  searched  in 
Grimm  ("  Deutsche  M}-thologie ")  and  in  Preller,  as  well 
as  in  Herodotus,  for  any  myth  or  story  of  the  sort.  Nor 
do  I  find  one  amongst  the  Irish  legendary  lore,  although 
we  might  easily  suspect  a  Celtic  origin  for  the  notion. 

It  might  very  well  arise  amongst  a  notoriously  pleas- 
ure-loving race  such  as  the  West  Indian  Islanders  (not 
Caribs)  are  reported  to  have  been,  whose  greatest  horror 
must  have  been  the  approach  of  a  period  of  life  when 
they  could  no  longer  enjoy — and  whose  dreams  might 
well  have  suggested  the  hope  of  an  eternal  renewal  of 
youth.  Yet  I  cannot  help  suspecting  that  the  story 
published  by  the  Spaniards,  and  which  set  Ponce  de 
Leon  off  on  his  sagacious  quest,  arose  from  a  mistake. 
Ignorant  as  they  were  of  the  languages  of  the  Indians, 
save  such  vocables  as  they  picked  up,  their  chief  com- 
munication with  the  natives  must  have  been  conducted 
by  means  of  signs.  They  heard  of  a  fountain  which  had 
healing  properties  ;  a  wonderful  spring  that  cured  all 
maladies  and  "  made  people  young  again  " — a  figure  of 
speech  not  unknown  to  us  either.  Ready  to  believe  any- 
thing of  those  marvellous  new-found  lands,  where  almost 
everything  differed  from  the  old  world,  the  Spaniards 
left  their  own  imagination  free  play — and  themselves 
invented  more  than  they  heard — so  that  not  only  their 
ears,  but  their  very  eyes  deceived  them.  I  think  it  was 
Ponce's  companions,  who,  coming  upon  the  huts  of  the 
Floridians,  which  were  rough -cast  with  an  extremely 
white  stucco  that  glittered  in  the  sunshine,  at  once  came 
to  the  conclusion  that  they  were  cased  in  silver.  They 
would  only  have  to  slaughter  the  natives  (having  first 
offered  them  Christianity)  and  then  peel  off  the  precious 
metal  by  the  ton.  However,  even  if  the  Spaniards  were 
mistaken  as  to  what  they  heard,  and  unwittingly  in- 
vented the  story  of  the  magic  fountain  themselves,  it  does 


not,  of  course,  alter  the  complexion  of  Dr.  Littledale's 
statement,  or  in  any  way  invalidate  it.  It  is  enough  if 
the  Spaniards  can  be  shown  to  have  been  the  dissemina- 
tors of  the  story  in  Europe,  and  to  have  brought  it  with 
them,  however  acquired,  from  the  New  World.  That  is 
the  question  one  would  like  to  see  set  at  rest,  and  that 
can  only  be  done  by  finding  some  traces  of  the  story  in 
Europe  or  the  East  earlier  than  A.D.  1492,  or  some  years 

The  daughters  of  Pelias  we  know  tried  to  boil  their 
father  young  again.  But  we  are  not  told  that  they  used 
the  water  of  any  particular  fountain  in  cooking  him  ;  and 
so  it  is  not  a  case  in  point — especially  as  the  poor  old 
gentleman  was  none  the  better  of  the  operation. — Yours 
ever,  F.  W.  BURTON. 

This  suggested  my  stating  these  eariier  dates  to 
my  learned  friend  Dr.  Littledale,  but  he  still  held 
by  the  story  of  Ponce  de  Leon  as  the  origin  of  the 
fable  in  Europe,  at  the  same  time  suggesting  the 
possibility  of  its  being  a  materialistic  symbolisation  of 
the  Christian  doctrine  of  regeneration  by  baptism. 
"This  is  quite  likely,"  he  adds,  "to  have  arisen  in 
highly  literalist  minds,  but  I  have  never  met  with 
any  documentary  evidence  of  this.  All  sorts  of 
wild  notions  were  flying  about  in  the  fifteenth  cen- 
tury." In  this  case  the  figure  in  full  armour  might 
be  St.  George  or  the  angel  Michael. 

The  suggestion  of  a  symbolisation  of  regeneration 
by  baptism  is,  I  must  think,  the  origin  of  the  foiis 
jiLventutis,  the  subtilties  of  that  period  being  most 
curious  and  recondite.  In  art  this  took  the  form  of 
allegorical  figures,  a  pedantic  tendency  gathering 
strength  from  every  successive  development  of  the 

282  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

Renaissance  till  it  became  effete.  As  it  appears  in 
the  hand  of  Giotto  and  others  in  the  Arena  chapel 
in  Padua,  and  above  all  in  the  great  Saloon  in  the 
same  city,  the  allegorical  and  the  symbolical  is  replete 
with  poetic  character.  Indeed  that  mighty  hall  with 
its  innumerable  pictures,  unhappily  repainted  more 
than  once,  and  its  wide  barrel  roof,  through  which 
an  opening  is  made  to  allow  the  sun  to  draw  a  line 
on  the  floor  marking  the  daily  meridian,  is  to  me 
one  of  the  most  interesting  buildings  in  the  world. 

The  profoundest  thinker  in  this  partially  mystical 
line  of  invention  was  the  greatest  of  modern  artists, 
Michael  Angelo,  and  the  most  surprising  example 
of  it  is  in  the  picture  of  "God  the  Father  creating 
Adam"  on  the  ceilinQ^  of  the  Sistine.  I  confess  to 
having  lain  on  my  back,  the  better  to  examine  that 
ceiling,  for  hours,  and  yet  to  have  missed  the  nature 
of  the  figure  within  the  left  arm  of  the  Creator — a 
female  figure  with  smooth  parted  hair,  rising  from 
behind,  looking  intently  on  the  now  living  inan, 
whose  finger  is  7'aised  to  touch  the  finger  of  God. 
But  when  I  saw  the  large  photographs  by  Braun  I 
was  at  once  arrested  by  the  beautiful  steady  gaze  of 
this  figure,  unmistakably  female,  by  her  bust  and 
smooth  hair,  not  one  of  the  lusty  cherub  boys  that 
bear  up  the  drapery  that  envelops  the  Deity  ;  and 
I  afterwards  found  that  a  large,  though  rude,  con- 
temporary woodcut  existed.  This  woodcut  was 
sent  by  some  one  to  the  Burlington  Club  for  ex- 
amination after  my  letter  was  published  in  the 
AthcnmiLvi.    The  woodcut  is  inscribed  Caspar  Rncna 


fecit,  without  a  date,  but  from  its  style  may  be  safely 
considered  contemporary,  and  if  so,  probably  done 
from  an  original  sketch  of  the  great  artist,  as  so 
many  large  woodcuts  at  that  time  were  produced 
from  very  slight  sketches.  In  this  print  the  sex  of 
the  figure  within  the  left  arm  of  the  Almighty  Father 
is  conspicuously  expressed,  and  I  have  no  doubt 
Michael  Angelo  intended  to  express  the  coming 
wife  of  Adam  ;  the  figure  is  therefore  the  ante-type 
or  eidolon  of  Eve  ! 

With  respect  to  strictly  allegorical  treatment, 
which  was  always  more  affected  by  sculptors  than 
by  painters  (indeed  Giotto  in  the  Arena  Chapel  at 
Padua  depicts  the  emblematic  personages  introduced 
between  his  pictures  in  monochrome  relief,  as  if 
sculptures),  I  found  on  careful  study  that  it  had 
been  always  carefully  avoided  by  Michael  Angelo. 
The  recumbent  statues  on  the  Medici  tombs,  usually 
called  Night  and  Day,  Morning  and  Evening, 
have  no  such  weak  and  scarcely  definable  signifi- 
cance. They  have  always,  for  these  four  centuries 
nearly,  passed  under  the  foolish  names  they  bear 
simply  because  w^orks  of  art  have  never  received 
adequate  criticism  except  for  their  external  qualities. 
These  statues  really  represent  conditions  of  life — 
sleeping  and  watching,  rest  and  unrest.  How  much 
more  significant  they  are  placed  on  the  tombs  of 
the  Medici  when  reviewed  under  the  higher  inter- 
pretation !  Sleep  is  for  the  night,  therefore  the 
sculptor  placed  an  owl  beside  the  sleeper,  and  that 
owl  is  all  the  authority  for  all  the  figures  having 

284  WILLIAM  BELL  SCOTT  chap. 

received  the  absurd  appellations  of  Night  and  Day, 
Morning  and  Evening.  In  the  epigram  sent  to 
Michael  Angelo  by  Giovanni  Strozzi  that  poet  speaks 
of  the  sleeper  with  the  owl  beside  her  as  La  Notte, 
but  in  the  answering  epigram  the  sculptor  corrects 
him  by  speaking  of  it  as  if  it  represented  sleep,  which 
of  course  it  does.      Michael  Angelo's  last  line  is  this  : 

Pero  non  mi  destar  deh  parla  basso. 

The  difference  between  a  piece  of  sculpture  repre- 
senting a  mental  or  bodily  condition  and  an  alle- 
gorical human  creature  flourishing  a  suggestive 
implement,  or  accompanied  by  a  previously  under- 
stood adjunct,  is  the  difference  between  the  natural 
and  the  artificial,  between  poetry  and  riddles  : 
recognisable,  one  would  say,  by  the  meanest  under- 
.standing.  Yet  at  this  time  Heath  Wilson,  whom  I 
knew  in  our  earliest  active  life  in  Edinburgh,  and 
also  in  London  when  I  joined  the  executive  of  the 
miserable  "  Schools  of  Design,"  repudiated  the  dis- 
tinction I  drew  in  his  book  on  Michael  Angelo,  and 
laughed  at  my  elucidation  of  the  female  appearing 
in  the  group  round  God  the  Father  in  the  Creation 
of  Adam.  He  went  farther,  showing  his  want  of 
sense  by  pronouncing  the  discovery  of  no  conse- 
quence !  Mr.  Pagan  too  accepts  the  old  meaningless 
nomenclature  of  Night  and  Day,  Morning  and 
Evening,  applied  to  the  statues  on  the  Medici  tombs, 
in  his  smaller  work,  just  out.  He  was,  however, 
much  struck  by  my  suggestion,  especially  on  my 
definition  to  him  of  the  last  line  of  Michael  Angelo's 


poetical  reply  to  Strozzi's  epigram.  But  so  it  will 
go  on  ;  such  is  the  wholly  exoteric  nature  of  art- 
WTiting,  treating  the  artist  only  from  the  point  of 
view  of  taste  and  workmanship. 

Let  me  give  another  instance  bearing  on  the 
same  subject.  I  had  been  long  interested  in  the 
old  controversy  as  to  the  author  of  the  illustrations 
to  the  pedantic  romance  published  in  Venice  in 
1499,  the  Hypnerotoniachia  Poliphili.  This  book, 
thought  unique  in  its  way,  dealing  with  the  love  of 
Poliphilus,  a  sort  of  impersonation  of  art,  for  Polia, 
a  representative  of  classic  taste  perhaps,  is  valued 
mainly  for  its  illustrations,  which  show  minute 
acquaintance  with  antique  architecture  and  orna- 
ment, and  also  charming  purism  of  drawing  in  the 
figure  subjects.  The  origin  of  those  designs,  which 
are  on  wood  or  on  the  soft  metal  much  used  by 
engravers  for  surface  -  printing  after  the  book- 
making  from  metal  types  had  arrived  at  perfec- 
tion, as  we  see  by  the  truly  wonderful  cuts  in  the 
Books  of  Hours  by  Simon  Vostre  and  others  in 
Paris,  was  a  favourite  subject  of  inquiry.  All  the 
greatest  painters  of  the  greatest  period  of  painting 
were  accredited  with  them,  from  Raphael,  who 
would  appear  to  critics  to  have  had  as  many  hands 
as  Briareus,  with  eyes  in  proportion  to  direct  them, 
down  to  the  least  of  all  those  exclusively  known 
by  their  extant  pictures.  I  knew  practically  that  no 
painter  in  great  repute  and  practice  would  be  found 
to  have  had  any  hand  in  the  work.  Ottley 
and    others    attributed    the    engraving    of    Albert 


Diirer's  best  prints  on  wood  to  his  own  hand,  as  if 
he  who  never,  as  far  as  we  know,  cut  a  single  Hne 
on  wood,  could  at  once  surpass  the  most  expert 
Jwlzschneidci'  in  Ntirnberg.  Had  they  selected  the 
worst  as  probably  done  by  the  painter,  they  would 
have  been  nearer  the  rational  understanding  of  the 
matter.  How  is  it  at  the  present  day  so  few  of 
our  best  masters  of  the  palette  are  great  designers  ? 
As  for  the  designer  or  inventor  of  the  illustrations  in 
the  Hypncrotomachia  being  also  the  engraver,  that 
did  not  follow  ;  even  in  Venice,  where  engraving 
either  in  wood  or  copper  had  scarcely  penetrated  as 
yet,  it  is  very  unlikely  that  he  was.  The  earliest 
volume  printed  in  Venice  bears  a  German  name  as 
printer,  and  the  immediate  rise  of  a  number  of  noble 
editors,  issuing  works  with  admirable  woodcut  title- 
pages,  suggests  that  G^xm-3,x\  forinschneiders  resorted 
thither  at  once. 

Ottley  had  indeed  suggested  that  the  designer 
and  engraver  of  prints  in  an  Ovid  printed  in  Venice 
shortly  after  the  HypnerotoinacJiia  was  the  same 
person.  Dr.  Lippmann  too  suggested  that  not  only 
that  engraver,  but  also  Jacob  Walsch  or  Walch  ^ 
had  been  connected  with  that  work,  because  he  had 
returned  to  Venice  to  undertake  as  draftsman,  no 

1  This  artist  was  formerly  considered  to  belong  to  the  German 
school,  if  indeed  he  was  not  a  German  by  birth  ;  now  he  is  given  up 
to  the  Italians.  He  was  living  in  NUrnberg  at  the  end  of  the  fifteenth 
century  when  Durer  returned  thither  from  his  Wanderjahre,  and 
finding  Jacob  there  as  an  engraver,  must  have  learned  much  from 
him.  Jacob's  style  of  engraving  is  so  much  more  closely  allied  to 
the  German  manner  that  it  is  probable  his  stay  in  Niirnberg  was  to 
educate  himself  in  engraving,  and  even  after  his  return  to  Venice  he 
had  no  effect  on  Italian  engraving. 

xviii  ARTISTIC  INQUIRIES,  iSyg-So  287 

doubt,  a  large  view  of  Venice  to  be  cut  on  wood,  a 
copy  of  which  is  to  be  seen  in  the  British  Museum. 
But  a  book  came  into  my  hand,  just  then  published, 
which  enabled  me  to  identify  the  style  of  drawing  of 
the  much-disputed  illustrations  with  that  of  other 
illustrative  works  publishing  about  the  same  year, 
1499,  in  Venice,  and  to  find  the  initials  of  the  name 
to  be  those  of  an  artist  who  has  been  accredited 
with  many  nic/li  or  quasi-nielli.  This  book  was 
Die  Biicherornainentik  dcr  Renaissance,  Leipzig, 
1878,  a  collection  of  a  hundred  reproductions  of  the 
title-borders  of  Venetian  and  other  works  at  the  end 
of  the  fifteenth  century.  Several  of  these  had  an 
absolutely  unmistakable  resemblance  to  the  style  of 
those  in  the  Hypnerotomac/iia,  and  on  one  were  the 
initials  S.  C.  P.,  with  I.  below  them,  no  doubt  repre- 
senting the  word  Inventor.  Five  minutes'  examina- 
tion by  an  artist,  especially  one  expert  in  drawing 
on  wood,  is  worth  a  year's  deliberation  of  men 
who  do  not  possess  special  knowledge,  and  internal 
evidence,  the  evidence  of  style,  is  worth  all  other. 
Here  were  the  initials  of  the  name  of  the  artist  of 
these  illustrations  ;  they  were  done  by  a  quite 
obscure  draftsman  Vasari  had  never  heard  of.  I 
showed  the  title-border  Herr  Butsch  had  faithfully 
given  by  means  of  some  new  scientific  process  to 
several  artists,  painters,  illustrators,  and  engravers  ; 
they  were  all  agreed  as  to  the  identity  of  the  style 
of  drawing,  and  I  wrote  a  letter  to  the  Athenmun, 
which  was  published  27th  March  1880,  with  con- 
siderable satisfaction. 

288  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

And  who  was  this  S.  C.  P.  ?  I  called  him  a 
quasi-nicZ/ist,  because  the  works  attributed  to  him 
in  the  British  Museum,  signed  by  these  initials  or 
various  combinations  of  them,  had  the  lettering  in 
the  ordinary  way — not  reversed,  as  the  true  niello 
inscriptions  always  were.  The  name  in  full,  as 
given  on  one  of  these  doubtful  nielli,  and  as  repeated 
without  question  by  Passavant,  an  unquestionable 
authority,  is  Stephanus  Cassenas  Peregrini.  Un- 
happily these  little  engravings  have  been  all,  or 
nearly  all,  invalidated  as  ancient  works,  and  are  now 
believed  to  be  modern  forgeries  ;  at  least  they  have 
lately  come  to  light  in  extraordinary  numbers. 
This,  however,  is  nothing  to  me.  The  forgers  may 
have  taken  the  name  from  this  title-border,  which  is 
beyond  dispute,  or  they  may  have  invented  the 
name  from  the  initials  ;  I  know  nothing  of  that 

Looking  up  this  letter  to  the  Athenccinn  I  find 
some  notes  on  the  very  earliest  rudimentary  begin- 
nings of  imitative  art,  with  sketches  to  illustrate 
them,  which  may  be  interesting  enough  to  preserve 
here.  They  were  made  in  the  exhibition  of  Dr. 
Schliemann's  Collection  of  Antiquities  from  Hissarlic, 
1877-78.  Among  these  the  most  important  things, 
in  fact,  were  an  immense  number  of  red  clay  vessels 
for  water,  called  by  him  "  Owl-headed  Vases."  He 
found  these  in  great  numbers,  and  in  his  very  inter- 
esting work  lays  considerable  stress  on  them,  con- 
ceiving that  they  are  capable  of  bearing  evidence  to 


a  favourite  doctrine  that  the  Trojans  were  originally 
Hellenes,  the  owl  here  supposed  to  be  represented 
beinof  "  the  s^reat-Grreat-crreat-sfrandmother  of  the 
bird  of  Pallas  Athena  "  ! 

The  indefatigable  excavator,  in  descending  below 






ft  ; 

the  very  cradle  of  Greek  civilisation,  has  persuaded 
hiniselt  to  believe  anything  ;  these  vessels  are  not 
in  the  shape  of  the  owl,  but  in  that  of  the  human 
figure.     Some   of   them    have   ears,   the   later  ones 

VOL.  II  u 

290  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap,  xviii 

mouths,  and  the  eyes  quite  differently  represented. 
It  is  this  difference,  showing  the  progressive  steps 
of  imitative  art,  that  drew  my  attention  to  them.  If 
we  observe  a  child's  earliest  attempts  at  drawing  or 
modelling,  the  eyes  are  represented  not  as  a  feature 
but  as  an  organ,  the  iris  and  pupil  are  expressed  as 
a  circle.  The  child  and  the  savage  feel  alike  in 
this,  and  art  in  this  follows  nature  herself,  the  earliest 
true  eye  being  bare  as  in  the  fish.  The  second 
stage  of  delineation  is  to  express  the  eye  as  a  feature  ; 
the  appearance  becomes  the  important  thing,  the 
lids  are  mainly  represented,  and  a  long  slit  is  the 
aspect  of  the  organ.  Some  of  the  heads  on  these 
vessels  have  the  eyes  so  modelled.  These  are  the 
product  of  a  later  period,  a  period  of  years  or  cen- 
turies. The  handles  are  more  developed  also  to 
represent  arms.  The  ears  and  the  mouth  are  much 
more  expressed,  and  as  the  body  of  the  vase  really 
represents  the  upper  part  of  the  human  body — to 
follow  it  any  farther,  keeping  the  purpose  of  the 
vessel  in  view,  being  impossible — the  breasts  and 
the  navel  are  carefully  recorded. 

These  particulars,  as  indicating,  to  use  Dr. 
Schliemann's  phrase,  the  great -great -great -grand- 
mother of  the  art  of  the  Parthenon,  appear  to  me 
amusing  as  well  as  interesting,  and  render  the  vases 
worthy  of  a  place  in  our  Museum.  The  presence  of 
the  mammae  as  elevations  or  knobs,  and  the  navel 
as  a  third  lower  down,  the  smallness  of  the  mouth, 
seem  to  prove  the  head  to  be  that  of  a  female,  more 
probably  that  of  Aphrodite  than  of  Pallas  Athena. 


PEXKILL — JB.    (miss    BOVd),     iSSo 

It  has  been  well  said,  the  nation  is  happy  that  has 
no  history.  It  is  so  with  individuals  as  well  as 
nations,  and  as  years  creep  on  with  less  struggle 
and  more  ease  there  is  less  to  record,  life  becomes 
more  orderly,  and  time  fleeter  on  the  wing,  one  year 
resembles  another.  As  spring  advances  into  summer 
and  my  work  at  South  Kensington  draws  to  a 
close,  we  prepare  to  emigrate  to  Scotland.  Ai.,  who 
has  wintered  with  us  in  London,  has  gone  in  May, 
and  our  almost  daily  exchange  of  letters  or  journals 
goes  on  till  July,  when  we  follow,  thirsting  for  the 
quiet  of  the  Old  Scotch  House,  its  gray  walls  chequered 
by  the  shade  of  the  great  trees,  and  the  jackdaws 
sitting  for  ever  on  its  vane  or  towers. 

The  absolute  silence  of  the  country  after  noisy 
Chelsea,  and  after  trying  to  sleep  with  one's  ear  on 
a  railway  pillow,  if  we  travel  by  a  sleeping  carriage, 
is  like  a  suggestion  of  preternatural  life.  Sounds 
inaudible  in  London  to  the  human  sense  begin 
to  grow  on  the  ear ;  the  silence  becomes  animated 
with   charming,   soothing   characteristics,  the   air  is 



filled  with  the  hum  of  insects,  the  fine  winnowing  of 
small  birds'  wings,  the  rustle  of  a  dress  on  the  grass. 
In  my  usual  restlessness  in  the  early  morning,  I  got 
up  to-day  to  find  a  book  wherewith  to  return  to  bed. 
From  the  window  the  landscape  was  as  still  as  the 
house  within.  The  sky  was  white,  the  sun  un- 
speakably white,  making  the  shadows  of  the  trees 
faintly  chequer  the  smooth  green  terrace.  On  the 
point  of  one  of  the  leaves  of  a  great  aloe  below, 
perched  a  thrush,  silent  and  motionless  ;  two  wild 
rabbits  were  sitting  on  the  green  terrace  still  as  if 
they  were  carved  in  stone.  In  the  clear  air  every 
leaf  on  every  tree  had  an  individuality,  and  every 
pebble  on  the  walk,  as  if  shade  and  even  colour  were 
defects  of  nature,  yet  there  was  a  luminosity  at  that 
hour  that  gave  a  peculiar  unity  to  the  whole  scene, 
removing  it  from  mid-day  impressions.  It  was  as  if 
I  had  looked  from  the  palace  of  the  Sleeping  Beauty, 
in  its  enchanted  and  limitless  repose.  But  it  sug- 
gested a  higher  tone  of  feeling  than  this  ;  it  was  as 
if  I  had  awoke  into  another  world  beyond  the  pulsa- 
tion of  the  senses,  a  state  of  things  that  would  last 
for  ever.  Repeatedly  in  earlier  times  I  had  felt 
this  almost  awe-inspiring  impression  from  absolute 
silence  and  stillness,  and  I  have  tried  to  express  it 
in  a  sonnet. 

Certainly  such  an  emotional  moment  as  this  is 
not  possible  in  town.  Town  is  the  theatre  for 
activity  in  relation  to  the  actual  world,  solitude  in 
the  country  creates  reflection,  the  luxury  or  the  pain 
of   life.      I    say   solitude,   because   a   perfect    under- 

XIX  PENKILL—/S.    {MISS  BOYD),   iS8o  293 

Standing  and  sympathy  with  a  single  friend  of  twenty 
years'  standing  is  something  more  not  less  than 
solitude.  Anxiety  about  the  house  in  Chelsea  with 
all  its  belongings  carries  my  wife  back  thither  earlier 
than  I  care  to  return.  She  had  no  jealousy  ;  the 
perfect  friendship,  the  ambition  of  my  life,  had  come 
within  my  grasp,  and  year  after  year  had  made  its 
possession  secure.  To  /I3.  I  had  been  of  use  in  the 
affairs  of  life  ;  on  her 

The  vanward  clouds  of  evil  days 
Had  spent  their  malice  and  the  sullen  rear 

had  exhausted  itself  in  vain  ;  her  mind  had  retained 
all  its  elasticity.  She  had  an  inexhaustible  power 
of  perceiving  what  was  in  the  mind  of  any  one  she 
loved,  and  of  meeting  them  midway,  as  if  she,  too, 
had  thought  as  they  did  ;  she  would  rather  please 
them  than  herself.  It  was  so  truly;  she  enjoyed 
others'  happiness  and  others'  ideas  exactly  as  if  they 
were  her  own.  There  is  a  couplet,  said  to  be  by 
Prior,  a  very  imperfect  poet,  that  I  have  seen  quoted, 
and  have  a  hundred  times  repeated  to  myself,  in- 
wardly connecting  it  with  /{i. 

Abra  was  ready  ere  I  named  her  name^ 
And  when  I  named  another  Abra  came. 

She  had,  moreover,  a  quickness  in  attaining  to  any 
handicraft  or  artistic  accomplishment  that  made  her 
critically  the  most  perceptive  arbiter  I  have  ever 

Our  way  of  life  was  this.      She  was  our  guest  in 
winter,  and  we  were  hers  in  summer.     I  have  already 

294  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

Spoken  of  Chelsea  as  a  country  town,  though  a 
portion  of  the  mighty  metropolis.  We  had  or  could 
have  had  many  friends  there,  but  we  become  more 
self-centred  as  we  get  old,  and  our  environment,  the 
scenery  of  life,  becomes  more  important.  This 
division  of  the  year  between  the  two  localities,  with 
local  improvements  or  other  businesses  employing 
spare  hours  in  both,  became  our  habit.  November 
found  us  settled  into  a  life  of  fires  and  books,  and 
the  eve  of  the  New  Year  found  us  waiting  with 
unabated  pleasure  for  the  midnight  bells  of  Battersea 
rising  and  falling  over  the  running  river.  The  first 
winter  I  spent  in  London  I  heard  the  bells  ring  out 
the  old  year  while  w^alking  through  St.  James's  Park 
to  my  Pimlico  lodgings.  Last  year  w^e  were  sitting 
in  my  library  playing  bezique,  with  a  hurricane 
carrying  the  sounds  fitfully  over  the  Thames  to  us. 
This  contrast  suQ-ofested  these  two  sonnets  : 

New  Year's  Eve.      1879-80 


Long  years  ago  when  love  was  lord  of  me. 

And  all  life's  gifts  were  in  the  impending  year, 
At  this  same  hour  I  heard  afar  and  near 

These  New  Year's  bells  f^ood  heaven  with  melody 

Over  the  snow-clad  Park,  as  over  sea 
Voices  of  welcome  to  the  mariner 
Returning  fortunate,  till  in  the  rear 

St.  Paul's  great  voice  made  lesser  voices  flee. 

And  now  again  I  hear  them  !   far-off  Bells, 
Across  the  rushing  river,  in  the  wind, 

XIX  PENKILL—^.  [MISS  BOYD),   iS8o  295 

Fainting  or  rising  as  the  tempest  swells  ; 

The  river  rushing  like  dark  years  behind 
Chasing  dark  }'ears  gone  by,  and  those  sweet  knells 

High  overhead  like  memories  intertwined. 


Ring  out  again,  ye  Bells  of  Battersea, 
Over  the  seaward  Thames,  as  I  sit  here 
Lamplit  with  moistened  eyes  and  hungering  ear, 

Recalling  thoughts  of  things  once  hoped  to  be. 

Past  now,  forgotten  ;   for  to  me 

Those  wild  harmonics  in  the  waves  of  air 
Changing,  yet  still  repeating,  here  and  there. 

Yet  truly  ordered,  ring  life's  history. 

Life's  history  and  life's  prophecy  withal  : — 
Shouted  the  sons  of  God  when  a  new  ray 
Showed  them  this  infant  world,  and  each  new  day 

They  shout,  and  each  new  year  renews  the  call 
To  higher  hopes,  continuous  and  alway, 
Rhythmical,  storm-borne,  past  life's  echoing  hall. 

As  spring  advances,  we  begin  to  look  forward 
to  the  chano;e.  xV).  must  see  all  the  Exhibitions 
of  the  season  opening  in  May.  But  before  that 
time,  on  the  morning  of  the  iSth  ot  March,  a  note 
from  Sir  Frederick  Burton  informed  me  at  breakfast 
that  a  good  copy  of  the  picture  painted  by  Durer  in 
Venice,  the  "  Rosenkrautzfest,"  was  to  be  sold  that 
day  at  Christie's.  It  was  the  anniversary  of  my 
first  meeting  with  J^.,  and  we  both  determined 
to  go,  and  if  possible  to  buy  it  in  commemoration 
of  the  day,  to  me  the  day  of  days.  The  copy  of 
the  "Rosenkrautzfest"  was  the  size  of  the  orio^inal 
and  brought  too  much   money,  but  we   persevered 

296  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

in  our  determination  so  far,  we  bought  a  little 
Florentine  picture,  an  Annunciation  imitative  of  the 
manner  of  Fra  Angelico,  which  is  now  here  at  Pen- 
kill,  to  be  hung  in  the  great  Hall,  now  in  course  of 
erection  from  my  design. 

Towards  the  end  of  May  then  JNIiss  Boyd  leaves 
us  in  town  and  towards  the  end  of  July  my  wife  and 
I    follow,    and    all    through    the    late    summer    and 

autumn  I  remain  at  Penkill.  The  orarden  attains 
its  perfection  and  slowly  diminishes  again,  the 
harvest  becomes  yellow  and  disappears,  the  equi- 
noctial winds  begin  to  blow  and  the  white  horses 
appear  on  the  distant  sea.  But  now  and  again  our 
friends  appear  on  the  scene,  like  birds  of  passage  ; 
and  here  while  I  write  arrives  a  doggerel  note  from 
my  dear  Reverend  but  humorous  Dr.  Littledale, 
who  promised  to  be  one  of  this  year's  visitors.  He 
has  been  suddenly  seized  with  one  of  his  visitations 

XIX  PENKILL-~/B.   {MISS  BOYD),   iSSo  297 

of  illness,  still  his  indomitable  spirits  survive.  "  I 
have  been  mending,"  he  says,  "but  am  still  too 
utterly  weak  and  tired  to  do  any  work,  even  to  write 
a  chant-roval  or  a  villanelle.  Still  I  bcQ-in  to  think 
I  shall  try,  and  here  it  goes  : 

"  I  sit  in  town  the  weary  weeks, 
I  cannot  reach  the  Northern  land 
Where  hurdies  do  without  the  breeks. 

Where  sporran  still  the  Gael  bespeaks, 
Where  Farintosh  is  aye  at  hand, 
And  salmon  kippered  in  the  reeks- — 

You'll  say  '  Don't  try  poetic  freaks. 

The  lyre  responds  not  to  your  hand. 

By  rights  tears  should  be  on  your  cheeks  ! ' 

But  no,  I  love  not  snivelling  sneaks, 
I  can  no  waterworks  command. 
Like  infant  thieves  before  the  Beaks, 

Though  I  must  pass  those  aimless  weeks 
In  Holborn,  Fleet  Street,  or  the  Strand, 
Where  hansom  rolls  and  waggon  creaks. 

While  you  are  supping  cock-with-leeks 
And  haggis  too,  I  understand, 
'Neath  Penkill's  pepper-boxy  peaks — 
Stop,  stop,  I  hear  protesting  shrieks — 
From  the  thistly  Northern  land  ! — F.  R.  L." 

Here  on  rainy  days,  with  no  painting  or  writing- 
in  progress,  I  have  got  acquainted  with  the  oddest 
collection  of  books.  Books  on  Horse-shoeing^  on 
the  Grape,  the  KitcJieii  Garden,  and  so  forth  ;  the 
once  fashionable  novels,  neatly-bound  little  volumes 
such  as  The  Female  Quixote,  and  The  Adventiwes 
of  a  Guinea,  and  some  of  the  works  "  no  gentleman's 

298  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

library  should  be  without;"  but  the  old  Magazines 
are  the  most  interesting.  Here  are  the  Universal 
Magazines  of  the  end  of  last  century  with  the 
accounts  of  the  French  Revolution  and  the  doings 
of  the  guillotine,  succeeded  by  a  page  or  two  of 
poetry,  called  The  British  Mttse,  amusing  by  its 
now  incredible  badness.  In  the  advertisements  of 
new  publications  we  see  in  the  same  number  with 
the  account  of  King  Louis's  death,  Godwin's  Political 
Justice,  2  volumes,  4to,  £2  :  2s.  ;  an  answer  to  Paine's 
Rights  of  Alan  by  Mr.  Adam,  is.  6d.  ;  Priestley's 
Appeal  on  the  Riot  of  Birmingham,  part  2,  3s.  6d., 
all  indicating  the  topics  agitating  England  in  its 
sympathy  with  France.  We  see  from  the  specimens 
of  the  British  Muse  how  unpoetic  the  age  was  just 
before  the  uprising  of  the  Lake  poets.  Even  Horace 
Walpole  found  it  hard  to  beat  out  a  few  rhymes  on 
the  three  Vernons,  the  beauties  of  his  circle.  In  the 
volume  for  1789  we  find  also  ample  evidence  of  the 
brutality  both  of  the  people  and  of  the  law,  lawyers 
having  always  been  the  last  to  move  towards  reform. 
In  the  December  session  that  year  there  were  at 
the  Old  Bailey  26  condemned  to  death  ;  5  to  be 
publicly  whipped  in  different  streets  named,  then 
imprisoned  ;  2  more  to  be  discharged  after  whipping  ; 
and  36  to  be  transported  ;  while  Robert  Kelly  stood 
in  the  pillory  twice  and  was  so  savagely  treated  by 
the  populace  that  the  sheriff  took  him  away  after 
an  hour  and  twenty  minutes,  his  full  time  being  two 
hours.  This  brutality  we  find  also  indicated  by  the 
boxinof  matches   at    which    the    roval    Dukes    were 

XIX  PENKILL—/B.   {MISS  BOYD),   1880  299 

spectators.  The  principal  sawdust  pit  was  in 
Tottenham  Court  Road,  established  by  subscription, 
where  these  fights  were  sometimes  fatal  ;  a  man 
called  Tyne  kills  his  antagonist  in  1788,  and 
reappears  in  the  next  volume  as  having  died  of 
bruises  "received  last  Tuesday  in  a  battle  at 

On  the  same  page  with  this  intimation  we  find 
the  Judge,  Lord  Kenyon,  "with  his  usual  humanity," 
as  the  editor  has  it,  and  Mr.  Erskine,  counsel  for  the 
Crown,  protecting  these  royal  Dukes  by  trying  "Mr. 
Walter  for  publishing  (ist  February  1789)  in  a 
newspaper  called  The  Times  two  libellous  para- 
graphs reflecting  on  the  character  of  the  Dukes  of 
York,  Gloucester,  and  Cumberland,"  as  "  having  been 
insincere  in  their  expressions  of  joy  in  his  Majesty's 
happy  recovery  " !  Not  till  five  months  afterwards  do 
we  find  the  sentence  recorded.  Mr.  Walter  is  to 
pay  a  fine  of  ^50,  to  be  imprisoned  for  a  year,  to 
stand  in  the  pillory  one  hour  at  Charing  Cross,  and 
to  find  ample  security  for  good  behaviour  for  seven 
years !  The  same  judge  and  counsel  a  few  days 
later  try  and  convict  the  Rev.  Dr.  Withers  to  the 
same  penalties  less  the  pillory,  for  a  libel  on  Mrs. 
Fitzherbert.  Here  the  leading  counsel,  Mr.  Erskine, 
who  was  of  course  shortly  after  raised  to  the  Bench, 
said  "  he  had  the  honour  to  be  acquainted  with  the 
lady,  who  was  a  person  of  the  most  amiable  character 
and  gentle  manners,"  and  the  judge,  among  other 
observations,  lamented  that  "the  most  exalted  virtue 
was  no  shield  against   calumny."     A   third  case  of 


libel  is  that  of  Mr.  Stockdale,  the  bookseller,  accused 
of  reflecting  on  the  House  of  Commons  for  their 
course  of  procedure  against  Mr.  Hastings.  This  of 
course  was  nobody's  interest,  and  the  jury  acquitted 


On  19th  November  the  King  (George  HI.), 
now  remarkably  cheerful  and  well,  goes  in  state  to 
the  theatre  with  the  Queen  and  three  Princesses,  to 
see  the  pleasant  comedy  of  the  Dramatist.  The 
house  was  kept  in  a  roar  of  laughter  in  which  their 
majesties  and  the  Princesses  most  heartily  joined. 
The  King  was  dressed  in  blue  velvet  embroidered 
with  gold  lace.  The  Queen's  dress  was  a  deep 
rose-coloured  satin  trimmed  with  diamonds  ;  a  white 
cap  ornamented  with  a  black  velvet  bandage  studded 
with  diamonds,  and  diamonds  in  different  parts  of 
her  hair.  The  Princesses  were  in  buff  satin  striped 
with  silver  and  adorned  with  point  lace,  white  caps, 
with  blue  and  white  feathers  and  diamonds  in  the 

Old  magazines  are  some  protection  against  a  wet 
day  in  the  country,  but  a  shortlived  one  ;  another 
was  rummaging  in  a  great  iron  box  containing  the 
family  documents.  No  one  except  myself  had  ever 
thought  of  this  as  an  amusement,  and  I  did  not  find 
it  remunerative.  I  found,  however,  a  great  seal  of 
Mary  Queen  of  Scots  appended  to  a  very  small 
charter,  and  dated  to  my  surprise  only  a  year  or  two 
after  the  death  of  her  father  James  V.,  when  she 
must  have  been  still  a  child. 

Neither  this  nor  any  other  paper  or  parchment 

PENKILL—^.    {MISS  BOYD),   iSSo 

was  of  the  least  interest,  and  the  only  curiosities  I 
found  were  the  singular  monograms  appended  to 
their  signatures  by  the  Scotch  lawyers  of  the  six- 
teenth century.  Some  of  them  I  copied,  as  here 


\0m^m^_^kiu  ^y^ 

To  close  this  chapter,  perhaps  the  last  in  these 
notes,  I  will  transcribe  a  sonnet  recording  the  twenty- 
first  Anniversary  of  my  first  meeting  Ai. 

To  /B.,  I  8th  March  1880.     21ST  Anniversary 

Spring  comes  with  all  the  firstlings  of  the  year, 
Leaping  around  her  careless  of  the  cold  ; 
Soon  summer's  tale  so  charming  will  be  told, 

The  rose-leaves  fall,  the  sun  shrinks  back  in  fear. 

Alas,  the  hours  fly  faster,  and  more  near 

Yule  draws  to  Easter  when  the  hair  turns  gray, 
Sooner  it  seems  the  swallovs^  fly  away. 
And  wintr\*  noes  brim  fiill  the  quivering  wear. 

What  matters  it  ?     These  are  but  things  we  kr  : 
Things  that  pass  by  as  Chronos  gives  comir-.^r_ 

Your  smile  is  still  as  bright  as  long  ago. 

We  still  are  gathering  shells  on  life's  seashore. 
We  still  can  walk  like  children  hand  in  hand. 

Friendship  and  love  beside  us  evermore. 


.:  .-.    r  ::  1SS2 

::y  ^:z7"s saet^st h:::i — zz_--TH  of  ito«s>i^!i"ii 

versary  sonnet  to  jB.,  1  :   is  MS.,  s"- . ' 

alrt:        -     i^  1:1^:^:  ..:.. 

incidenis    srr  —  ~y  writJog  wi:. 

and  with  A     novel   feeiiiig    _:    -^ 

-ely   5u:__:::. ;  _  ;    :     : 

V  ~  f:=jr  _nv  vears.  "sv 

..  T    't  depiived 

rec   _  lorm.  siave  m-  tz  ot  ^. 

304  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

admitted.  This  has  indeed  been  always  more  or 
less  characteristic  of  the  advent  of  my  poems,  good, 
indifferent,  or  bad  as  they  may  be  judged  ;  but  in 
the  present  case  this  centum  of  poems  or  rhymes — 
many  of  them  abrupt  as  epigrams  should  be,  others, 
ballads  or  short  narratives  or  sonnets — came  to  me 
fully  dressed,  as  it  were,  every  morning  between 
waking  and  rising,  in  the  autumn  months  of  1881. 
The  motive,  with  every  line  to  be  employed  in  its 
development,  came  to  me  as  if  from  memory  ;  they 
were  written  down  in  pencil  on  pieces  of  paper  I  had 
placed  under  my  pillow  the  night  before.  Every 
day  I  thought,  now  the  good  fairy  has  exhausted 
himself,  I  shall  have  no  more  !  but  still  it  went  on 
till  I  had  a  good  many  over  a  hundred,  some  morn- 
ings brineina:  nie  two  or  three.  The  house  was  full 
of  company,  but  I  found  time  to  make  fair  copies, 
and  to  read  them  over  to  JPj.  in  the  garden  bower, 
where  in  1870  I  used  to  read  the  wonderful  war 
news  in  the  daily  paper.  Then  we  threw  out  or  tore 
up  a  number,  as  she  objected  \'iolently  to  such  as 
were  either  satirical  or  metaphysical. 

While  this  incubation  was  going  on,  I  was  sur- 
prised by  a  letter  from  Rossetti,  whom  we  had  left 
in  a  very  low  state  of  general  health,  even  suffering 
from  a  total  loss  of  the  hope  of  recovery,  the  greatest 
loss  a  sick  man  can  suffer.  The  letter  was  dated 
from  an  out-of-the-way  farmhouse  in  Cumberland, 
whither  he  had  passively  allowed  himself  to  be  carried 
by  a  young  man  to  whom  he  had  suddenly  become 
exclusively  attached,  Mr.  T.  Hall  Caine. 

D.   G.   ROSSETTI  305 

When  our  time  came  for  returninof  to  town  I  was 
shocked  to  find  the  dear  old  Gabriel  prostrate  on  the 
old  sofa  we  had  so  often  in  the  earlier  times  seen 
filled  with  the  most  genial  friends.  He  w^as,  it  now 
appeared  to  me,  going  down  fast  ;  but  I  tried  to 
keep  up  the  usual  deception  we  apply  to  invalids. 
I  had  gone  alone,  thinking  it  best  to  make  this  first 
visit  so  ;  but  he  was  by  himself,  no  one  attending  or 
trying  to  cheer  the  man  whose  spirits  were  down  to 

When  he  and  I  were  alone,  he  wept  and  com- 
plained, and  made  unkind  speeches,  or  showed  me 
things  he  thought  would  wound  me,  as  when  he 
made  his  servant  lay  before  me  a  large  chalk 
sketch  he  called  "Questioning  the  Sphinx."  This 
wounded  me,  because  it  happened  that  I  had  made 
an  illustration  in  my  first  issue  of  The  Year  of 
the  World,  that  juvenile  "poem  with  a  purpose," 
of  the  hero-traveller  leaning  on  an  augural  staff  with 
his  ear  to  the  mouth  of  a  Sphinx,  which  I  called 
by  that  name,  and  which  the  beloved  D.  G.  R.  of 
that  early  time  used  to  make  game  of,  as  if  I  had 
mistaken  the  ancient  fable  in  which  the  Sphinx  was 
the  questioner,  not  the  questioned.  I  had  besides 
written  a  poem  called  "  To  the  Sphinx  considered  as 
the  symbol  of  religious  mystery."  Lying  on  the 
sofa  dying,  as  he  was,  I  saw  that  singular  expression 
of  ferocity  that  used  to  take  possession  of  his  face  if 
he  surmised  a  quarrel  was  coming.  I  laid  the  sketch 
aside,  but  he  kept  staring  at  me  ;  I  refused  to  take 
up  the  gauntlet,  and  I  could  not  venture  to  speak  of 

VOL.   II  X 

3o6  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

the  sketch  itself,  the  style  of  drawing  being  so  bad 
as  to  show  his  illness  was  destroying  his  work. 

As  the  year  drew  to  a  close  I  was  variously 
harassed  and  occupied,  among  other  things,  with 
reading  my  new  poems  to  literary  friends,  and  in 
trying  to  find  a  publisher,  as,  since  the  death  of  Mr. 
W.  Longman,  I  had  no  interest  in  that  world.  Had  it 
not  been  for  the  favourable  verdict  pronounced  on 
the  majority  of  my  poems  I  would  not  have  published 
at  all  ;  in  Rossetti  in  particular,  when  very  short 
readings  sufficed  to  tire  him,  the  old  enthusiasm  in 
my  verse  burst  out,  and  the  tears  that  came  to  his 
eyes  were  answered  by  mine,  alas !  from  a  different 
cause.  One  or  two  such  effusions  of  feeling  were 
the  last  flashes  of  ancient  friendship  I  have  to  record. 

Professor  Marshall's  object  in  sending  young  Mr. 
Maudsley  and  a  nurse  was  to  cure,  by  sub-cutaneous 
injections  of  morphia  gradually  decreased,  his  con- 
sumption of  chloral — of  late  enormously  enlarged  by 
his  increasing  insomnia.  The  result  was  a  complete 
success.  Maudsley  decreased  the  dose,  and  gradu- 
ally diluted  it  without  the  knowledge  and  without 
the  consciousness  of  the  patient,  till  at  last  he  injected 
only  water,  Rossetti  actually  going  to  sleep  immedi- 
ately after  the  operation  !  Altogether  before  this 
treatment,  with  its  surprising  result,  a  new  idea  had 
taken  possession  of  his  mind  which  caused  us  painful 
agitation.  He  wanted  a  priest  to  give  him  absolu- 
tion for  his  sins !  I  mention  this  hallucination  as  I 
have  related  previous  ones  ;  for  example,  that  of  the 
chaffinch  on  the  highway,  so  long  ago  as  1869,  not 

D.   G.   ROSSETTI  307 

loving  him  the  less  but  the  more,  sympathising  with 
him  almost  mesmerically.  Italian  as  he  was,  he  had 
no  living  tie  to  the  country,  had  never  visited  it, 
although  Italy  is  conventionally  the  country  of  paint- 
ing. His  mother  was  affectionately  attached  to  the 
Church  of  England,  and  his  father's  book  of  poems 
called  Arpa  Evangelica  was  evangelical  enough. 
But  the  Eesthetic  side  of  anything  was  his  exclusive 
interest ;  in  poetry  and  in  painting  the  mediaeval 
period  of  history  was  necessary  to  him.  Everything 
he  ever  did  in  either  art  was  mediaeval  in  date  and 
in  spirit,  except  his  picture  called  "  Found  "  and  his 
poem  called  "Jenny,"  which  had  both  one  origin  and 
inspiration.  I  am  nearly  certain  he  never  entered  a 
Romish  church  in  his  life,  except  to  look  at  some 
picture  that  might  be  there,  and  that  he  knew  simply 
nothing  of  its  ritual  or  its  sacraments. 

At  first  no  one  took  any  notice  of  this  demand 
for  a  confessor.  We  thought  his  mind  wandering, 
or  that  he  was  dreaming.  But  on  its  earnest  repeti- 
tion, with  his  eyes  open,  I  for  one  put  him  in  mind 
of  his  not  being  a  papist,  and  of  his  extreme 
agnosticism.  "  I  don't  care  about  that,"  was  his 
puzzling  reply  ;  "I  can  make  nothing  of  Chris- 
tianity, but  I  only  want  a  confessor  to  give  me 
absolution  for  my  sins !  "  This  was  so  truly  like  a 
man  living  or  rather  dying  in  a.d.  1300,  that  it  was 
impossible  to  do  anything  but  smile.  Yet  he  was 
serious,  and  went  on  :  "I  believe  in  a  future  life. 
Have  I  not  had  evidence  of  that  often  enough  ? 
Have   I    not  heard  and  seen  those  that  died  long 


years  ago  ?  What  I  want  now  is  absolution  for  my 
sins,  that's  all!"  "And  very  little  too,"  some  out- 
sider in  the  room  whispered,  as  a  gloomy  joke  ; 
none  of  us,  the  deeply -interested  few  who  heard 
him,  could  answer  a  word. 

Shortly   after    this    he    had    a    slight    attack    of 
paralysis,  or  fancied   he  had.      He  was  carried  up- 
stairs to  bed,  and   never  came  down  again.      The 
difficulty   in    believing    in    his   sensations   made    his 
illness  a  problem   to   every   one,  and    I    remember 
William  Morris,  when  he  came  one  evening  to  hear 
some  of  my  new  poems  read,  asking  me  if  I   really 
thought   Rossetti  so   ill,  or  was  he   only  acting    to 
keep  those  about  him  in  suspense  ?     I   declared    I 
knew  him  to  be  very  ill,  but  Morris  still  hesitated 
to  accept  my  assurance.      He  was  in  fact  preparing 
to  die.      He  became  weaker,   more  natural,  without 
the  chloral,  perhaps,  but  less  vital ;   and  one  morn- 
ing I  was  surprised  by  J.  P.  Sedden,  the  architect, 
who    had    been    building    houses   of  the    bungalow 
type  at    Birchington-on-the-Sea,  calling  with    the 
information  that  he  had  placed  one  of  them  at  the 
service  of  the  invalid,  who  was,  at  the  moment  of 
our   conversation,  leaving   for   that    place   with   the 
young  doctor,  and  others  attending.       I   felt  it  was 
too  late  to  see   him   again,    before  going ;    but   he 
never  returned,  so  I  saw  him  no  more. 

The  picture  I  have  drawn  had  been  a  painful 
one  to  witness  in  the  original,  and  has  been  only 
less  so  to  indicate  in  narrative,  even  carefully 
omitting  the  most  repulsive  elements  of  the  scene. 

D.   G.   ROSSETTI  309 

At  Birchington  he  lived  four  months  or  more,  till 
the  9th  of  April,  but  the  presence  of  his  mother  and 
sister,  Christina,  cleared  the  air  of  the  sickroom, 
and  made  the  period  sacred.      I  saw  him  no  more. 

My  Poet's  Harvest  Hovie  had  been  issued  just 
the  day  before.  Let  me  finish  my  task  by  my  usual 
method,  quoting,  or  giving  entire  letters  of  friends 
about  it.      Here  is  one  from  Morris  himself: 

Kelmscott  House,  Upper  Mall, 

Hammersmith,  T.'jth  April  1882. 

My  dear  Scott — I  have  never  written  to  thank  you 
for  sending  me  your  book,  because  I  have  been  trying  to 
get  round  to  see  you  to  do  so  in  person,  but  I  must  put 
that  off  till  next  week  ;   so  I  write  now. 

I  have  just  the  same  impression  on  me  now  I  have 
seen  the  poems  in  print,  as  I  had  when  I  heard  you  read 
them  :  that  they  are  original  and  full  of  thought,  and  that 
their  general  atmosphere  is  most  delightfully  poetical  and 
real  ;  that  there  is  real  beauty  about  them,  and  I  con- 
gratulate you  heartily  on  the  book,  which  for  the  rest  is  a 
very  pretty  little  book.  .  .  . — With  best  wishes,  yours 
ever,  William  Morris. 

Some  other  letters  within  the  bundle  I  have 
untied  I  cannot  resist  the  impulse  to  copy  here, 
they  are  so  pleasant  to  me  as  expressions  of  friendly 
feeling.  Here  is  one  from  "our  Director,"  as  some 
of  us  call  him,  F,  W.  Burton  : 

43  Argyll  Road,  Kensington,  W., 
2\si  April  1882. 

My  dear  Scott — Having  had  to  return  to  the 
National  Gallery  late  yesterday  afternoon,  I  found  there 
on  my  table  a  little  book,  packed  up,  which  I,  being 
hurried  at  the  moment,  put  into  my  pocket  as  it  was,  and 
broufjht  home  with  me. 


Great  was  my  pleasure  when  on  uncovering  and 
opening  the  tiny  volume,  I  found  my  name  inscribed  in 
it  by  the  hand  of  one  whose  innate  worth,  whose  high 
and  varied  talents,  and  whose  close  friendship  I  value  the 
more  deeply  the  longer  I  know  him,  and  as  to  whom  my 
earnest  prayer  is  that  he  may  long  be  spared  to  us  all 
as  an  affectionate  and  dear  friend,  and  an  example  of 
thorough  integrity  of  heart  and  mind,  and  of  spotless 

Before  going  to  bed  last  night  I  read  a  few  of  the 
verses  in  the  Poet's  Harvest  Home,  but  will  not  attempt  to 
say  with  what  delight.  Later  on  we  may  talk  over  the 
whole  matter.  At  present  I  will  only  return  my  thanks 
for  the  book. 

One  thing  I  must  say  here,  which  could  not  be  so 
well  said  face  to  face — that  among  the  many  associations 
which  make  dear  to  me  the  memory  of  our  great  and  lost 
Gabriel  Rossetti,  not  the  least  dear  is  that  it  was  through 
him  I  first  learned  to  know  William  Bell  Scott. — Believe 
me  ever  your  affectionate  friend,  F.  W.  BURTON. 

From  my  friend.  Sir  Frederick,  this  note  gave 
me  a  great  deal  of  pleasure,  knovv^ing  the  usual 
moderation  of  his  language.  But  if  I  went  on  in 
my  selection  of  letters  still  extant,  I  might  bring 
into  one  bouquet  all  the  valued  friends  left  me 
whose  names  appear  in  the  previous  reminiscences. 
This  would  be  pleasant,  and  artistically  proper 
withal ;  but  was  there  ever  an  autobiography  or 
even  a  memoir  by  a  closely -attached  friend  pro- 
duced which  was  not  overdone  }  and  I  hold  brevity 
more  and  more  imperative  nowadays  ;  it  is  not 
the  "  soul  of  wit  "  certainly,  but  rather  the  body.  I 
found  the  stringency  with  which  I  held  in  my  little 
steed  in  these  "  Hundred   Short  Poems"  confirmed 


my  views  on  this  matter,  and  I  can  less  and  less 
understand  why  Swinburne,  publishing  a  poem  ten 
books  long,  of  two  hundred  to  eight  hundred  lines 
each,  in  which  he  has  glorified  passion  by  presenting 
it  in  an  atmosphere  of  poetic  splendour  almost  un- 
paralleled— should  load  the  volume  with  two  hundred 
pages  more  of  inferior  matter  ! 

So  I  must  allow  myself  to  give  one  or  two  more 
letters,  nearly  entirely  relating  to  my  book,  coming 
from  men  I  have  mentioned  before  in  these  pages. 
The  first  is  from  Holman  Hunt,  somewhat  autobio- 
graphic in  its  nature,  and  showing,  moreover,  that 
he  had  in  his  mind  a  renewal  of  the  ancient  amity 
and  intercourse  with  D.  G.  R.,  which  had  died  out 
with  bitterness  many  years  before.  It  is  dated  17th 
April  1882. 

My  dear  Scott — My  first  thought  on  getting  your 
little  volume  is  to  envy  you.  I  wish  so  much  that  I  could 
write  poetry  !  I  tried  a  Httle  in  early  youth,  but  then, 
as  with  music  at  a  still  earlier  time,  and  for  somewhat 
similar  reasons,  i.e.  that  I  had  almost  more  than  I  could  do 
to  avoid  being  driven  from  painting,  I  was  discouraged,  and 
lost  the  chance,  if  ever  I  had  one,  of  training  my  ear  in 
the  melody  of  sweet  sounds.  It  seems  to  me  that  I 
have  been  assailed  more  than  most  men  in  attempts  to 
work  by  obstructing  demons,  so  that  it  has  been  impossible 
to  listen  duly  to  angels'  lessons.  In  poetry,  I  may  say, 
that  I  try  to  console  myself  by  fancying  out  poems  with- 
out words  ;  but  I  long  for  the  further  power,  that  I  might 
tell  my  dreams  to  others. 

Although  I  have  by  no  means  had  time  to  go  through 
your  little  volume  thoroughly,  I  have  read  enough  to  feel 
that  the  poems  are  very  dainty  and  thoughtful,  with  that 
tender  pitifulness  that  can  only  be  expressed  by  an  Ancient 


justified  by  confidence  in  the  authority  he  holds,  but  who 
would  not  imitate  the  defiant  neck  of  men  of  earlier  days  ; 
an  elder  doubtful  whether  the  objects  of  a  holy  war  have 
not  often  been  missed  by  the  hectoring  spirit  of  the  young 
who  have  adopted  the  confidence  in  their  mission  of  the 
enlisting  sergeant.  Your  poems  have  the  ripeness  of  Age 
without  the  loss  of  faith  in  effort  which  is  so  often  a  mark 
of  length  of  days,  and  I  treasure  the  book  in  the  hope  that 
some  day  I  may  talk  to  my  children  about  its  author  as 
one  they  have  desired  to  know  more  of 

Rossetti's  death  is  ever  in  my  mind,  for  all  my  old 
thoughts  turn  up  in  order  to  be  fresh  marked  with  the 
painful  fact.  I  had  long  ago  forgiven  him,  and  forgotten 
the  offence,  which,  in  fact,  taken  altogether,  worked  me 
good  rather  than  harm  ;  indeed,  I  had  intended  in  recent 
times  to  call  upon  him,  but  the  difficulties  arising  from 
this  Jerusalem  canvas  had  already  humiliated  my  spirit 
so  much,  that  when  the  visit  was  in  question  I  felt  the 
need  of  conquering  the  task  before  I  went,  and  awakened 
memories  of  early  days,  when,  partly  by  the  noisy  blunder- 
ing of  followers,  we  were  driven  to  stand  as  though  we 
were  reckless  in  our  challenge  of  the  whole  world  of  self- 
seeking  fools.  Illness  of  Rossetti  hindered  our  meeting 
still  more,  and  thus  our  talk  over  the  past  is  deferred  until 
our  meeting  in  the  Elysian  fields,  when,  if,  as  you  suggest 
in  your  little  book,  he  may  defer  so  long  to  drink  the 
waters  of  Lethe,  and  I  retain  my  memory  so  long,  we 
may  talk  over  back  history  as  having  nothing  in  it  not 
atoned  for  and  wiped  out  long  ago,  and  as  having  value 
only  as  experience  which  has  done  its  work  in  making  us 
both  wiser  and  better. — Yours  ever  affectionately, 

W.  HoLMAN  Hunt. 

What  this  ancient  but  now  forgiven  offence  was 
we  shall  not  now  inquire,  but  this  admirable  letter 
deserved  preservation, 

I  shall  now  give  a  few  extracts  from  verses 
furnished  by  the  same  occasion. 


Dr.  Littledale,  my  comic  versifier,  quoted  before 
in  similar  strains,  sent  me  now  a  sheet  of  verses 
in  the  newest  measures — a  Triolet,  a  Kyrielle,  a 
Rondeau,  and  a  Villanelle.  The  Rondeau  he  pub- 
lished in  the  Academy. 

His  "  Harvest-home  "  the  poet  brings. 

Harvest  of  rich  and  lovely  things, 
Piled  high  upon  the  loaded  wain 
That  bears  the  fruitage  of  the  brain, 

Begirt  with  flowery  garlandings. 

With  generous  hand  its  gift  he  flings 
To  all  with  gracious  welcomings  ; 
And  so  to  scatter  wide  is  fain 
His  Harvest-home. 

Not  like  the  niggard's  grasp  that  clings 

To  hoarded  gold  is  his  who  sings, 

Sings  for  pure  love  and  not  for  gain  : 
Then  sing  we  too,  with  glad  refrain. 
His  Harvest-home. 

"I  began,"  he  says,  "by  amusing  myself  with 
parodying  a  public  favourite,  and  then  thought  it  a 
shame  not  to  put  down  my  real  sentiments  also.  I 
send  them  to  you  exactly  as  they  were  scribbled  off 
in  the  original  draft.  But  an  hour  and  a  half  is  not 
enough  time  to  write  four  poems  in,  even  for  a  great 
poet  like  myself."     This  was  the  Villanelle  : 

The  harvest-home  of  seventy  years — 

Not  scant  and  thin  but  lush  and  fair. 
And  rich  with  heavy  golden  ears. 

In  sooth  a  pleasant  sight  that  cheers, 
And  half  unloads  the  heart  of  care. 
This  harvest-home  of  seventy  years  ; 

314  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

For  should  not  youth  discard  its  fears 
If  eld  can  home  such  harvest  bear, 
All  rich  with  heavy  golden  cars  ? 

The  honoured  eld  which  still  endears 

The  singer-artist's  boon  we  share — 
The  harvest-home  of  seventy  years. 

Swinburne's  sonnet  I  need  not  transcribe,  as  it 
is  printed  in  his  Tristram  volume ;  but  here,  in 
answer  to  a  complimentary  copy,  is  a  trifle  by 
Christina  Rossetti,  which  has  an  exceedingly  inter- 
esting reference  to  the  first  visit  I  paid  to  her 
household  about  thirty-five  years  ago,  when  I  first 
saw  her  standing  writing  at  a  small  high  desk,  as 
already  recorded  in  these  notes  :  "  before  I  was 
twenty  "  indicating  her  age  pretty  nearly  at  the 
epoch  I  mean  : 

My  old  admiration  before  I  was  twenty, — 
Is  predilect  still  now  promoted  to  se'enty  ! 
My  own  demi-century  plus  an  odd  one 

Some  weight  to  my  judgment  may  fairly  impart. 
Accept  this  faint  flash  of  a  smouldering  fun, 

The  fun  of  a  heavy  old  heart.  C.  G.  R. 

This  was  sent  me  a  month  or  more  after  Gabriel's 
funeral.  I  will  end  by  "A  Rhyme  to  W.  B.  S.  " 
from  Professor  Dowden,  who  says  in  the  accompany- 
ing letter :  "  I  was  happy  in  reading  your  Harvest 
Home,  because  I  had  not  to  look  into  the  clear 
serene  through  hangings  and  trappings  of  rhetoric. 
The  worst  of  this  rhetoric  is  the  injury  it  does  to 
the  vital  variety  of  true  feeling  by  its  uniform  high- 
pressure  glare  and  blare." 


A  burden  of  tired  thoughts  to  ease 

I  called  your  "  little  dears  "  ^  to  me, 
And  set  a  pair  upon  my  knees, 

For  I  had  heard  their  voices  free 
And  seen  the  sunlight  on  their  hair  ; 

And  but  to  touch  their  cheeks,  I  thought, 
To  make  my  circling  arms  their  lair. 

To  lay  in  mine  each  tiny  palm. 
To  feel  the  clinging  of  small  feet, 

To  live  within  their  breathing  sweet, — 
It  will  be  balm 
For  fretted  heart  and  brain  o'erwrought. 

I  had  no  fear,  no  touch  of  awe : — 
Ah,  "little  dears,"  what  gifts  you  brought 
Beyond  my  careless  reckoning  ! 
For  they  had  questions  far  more  wise 
Than  our  accustomed  old  replies  ; 
And  in  their  baby  eyes  I  saw 
The  deeps  of  life,  and  in  their  breath 
Heard  the  strong  song  of  death. 

Some  few  last  words  on  the  actual  death  of 
Rossetti  may  be  given  here,  derived  from  letters 
from  his  brother,  written  immediately  after,  from 
Birchington-on-Sea ;  and  also  an  account  of  his 
funeral,  which  indisposition  prevented  me  from 
attending,  in  a  letter  kindly  written  me  by  Judge 
Lushington,  who  had  been  intimate  with  Rossetti  in 
his  earlier  and  better  days.  He  had  seen  nothing  of 
D.  G.  R.  through  all  the  later  period  of  his  career, 
but  still  retained   so  much  interest   in  the  singular 

1  [In  the  Prologue  to  A  Poet's  Harvest  Home  the  writer  had 
spoken  of  his  poems  as  "  Little  Dears,"  and  asked — 

Ah  me  !  then,  reader,  can  you  say 

"  Little  dears"  to  these  to-day? — Ed.] 

3i6  WILLIAM  BELL   SCOTT  chap. 

endowments  of  the  poet  as  to  assist  at  the  honours 
of  the  funeral. 

W.  M.  R.  writes  to  me  in  answer  to  my  tele- 
gram. He  says  :  "It  is  too  true  that  we  have  lost 
Gabriel.  He  died  about  9^  p.m.  yesterday.  The 
immediate  cause  of  death  said  to  be  uraemic  poison- 
ing, or,  as  we  might  say,  functional  derangement  of 
the  kidneys  leading  to  a  bad  state  of  the  blood." 
William  had  been  at  Birchington  on  Saturday  and 
Sunday,  and  had  formed  a  bad  opinion  of  his 
brother's  condition,  so  on  receipt  of  a  telegram  from 
Christina  he  returned  again  at  once  on  Good  Friday, 
and  found  the  invalid  fatally  sinking.  Up  to  ^\ 
in  the  evening  the  anxious  watchers  did  not  see  that 
he  was  getting  worse,  but  then  the  blood-poisoning, 
"as  the  doctor  says,"  went  to  the  brain;  Gabriel 
cried  out  twice,  immediately  fell  into  a  sort  of  con- 
vulsive lethargy,  and  to  all  appearance  expired  un- 
conscious and  unsuffering. 

For  more  reasons  than  one  the  family  had  con- 
cluded to  have  the  funeral  there,  not  at  Highgate, 
where  old  Rossetti  lies,  and  Gabriel's  wife.  Would 
it  be  consistent  with  my  feelings,  he  asks,  and  other- 
wise manageable  for  me  to  attend  on  Friday,  the 
day  appointed  for  the  funeral  ?  If  so,  they  would 
like  to  see  me.  They  mean  to  write  to  a  few  other 
intimates  to  the  same  effect. 

William  writes  me  again  three  days  later. 
"We  continue  here,"  he  says,  "in  that  state  of 
hushed  sorrowfulness  which  can  be  imagined,  waiting 
for  the  funeral  to-morrow."      In  all  their  minds  there 

XX  DEATH  OF  D.   G.  ROSSETTI  317 

was  the  feeling  that  it  really  was  an  alternative 
between  loss  of  life  and  gradually  increasing,  and 
finally,  perhaps,  total  loss  of  his  powers,  even  of  all 
force  of  mind,  and  that  the  loss  of  life  was  ten  thou- 
sand times  the  less  painful  and  miserable  branch  of 
the  alternative.  D.  G.  R.  looked  in  death  serene 
and  restful,  and  so  natural  as  to  suggest  sleep  rather 
than  death.  This  is  usually  the  case,  but  they  could 
see  no  alteration  up  to  the  morning  of  the  funeral. 
On  Monday,  a  mould  had  been  taken  from  the  face 
and  hand,  one  of  the  smallest  of  full-grown  male 

His  Honour,  Judge  Lushington,  on  reaching 
home  wrote  me  as  follows  : 

36  Kensington  Square,  li^ih  April  18S2. 

Dear  Mr.  Scott — I  think  you  will  like  to  hear  how 
your  dear  friend  Gabriel  Rossetti  was  buried,  so  I  will  tell 
you — for,  thanks  to  your  kind  telegram,  I  was  there  ;  I 
had  hoped  to  see  yoii  there,  and  was  grieved  to  hear  that 
you  were  prevented  by  illness. 

The  church  at  Birchington  stands  back  about  three- 
quarters  of  a  mile  from  the  sea,  on  slightly  rising  ground, 
which  looks  over  the  open  land  and  the  sea.  It  is  of 
gray  country  flint,  built  in  the  twelfth  or  thirteenth  century, 
and  restored  a  few  years  ago,  I  thought  simply ;  it  is  nicely 
kept,  and  to-day  was  full  of  Easter  flowers.  It  has  an 
old  gray  tower,  and  gray  shingle  spire,  which  went  up,  as 
I  noticed  during  the  ceremony,  into  a  pure  blue  sky. 
The  churchyard  is  nicely  kept,  too  ;  it  was  bright  with 
irises  and  wallflowers  in  bloom,  and  close  to  Gabriel's  grave 
there  was  a  laurestinus  and  a  lilac.  The  grave  is  on  the 
south  side  close  to  the  porch  ;  it  was  cut  so  clearly  it 
seemed  carv-ed  out  of  the  chalk.  Altogether  it  was  a 
sweet  open  spot,  I  thought. 


At  the  graveside,  wonderful  to  sa\-,  was  the  old  mother, 
supported  by  William  on  one  side  and  Christina  on  the 
other — a  most  pathetic  sight.  She  was  ver^'  calm,  extra- 
ordinarily calm,  but  whether  from  self-command  or  the 
passivity  of  age,  I  do  not  know — probably  from  both  ; 
but  she  followed  all  the  proceedings  with  close  interest. 
Then  around  was  a  company  of  about  fifteen  or  twenty, 
many  of  them  friends  of  yours,  and  several  whom  I  did  not 
know.  The  service  was  well  read  by  the  vicar.  Then  we 
all  looked  into  the  resting-place  of  our  friend,  and  thought 
and  felt  our  last  farewells — many  flowers,  azaleas  and 
primroses,  were  thrown  in.  I  saw  William  throw  in  his 
lily  of  the  valley. 

This  is  all  I  have  to  tell  you.  Sad  it  was,  very  sad, 
but  simple  and  full  of  feeling,  and  the  fresh  beauty  of  the 
day  made  itself  felt  with  all  the  rest. 

I  shook  hands  with  William,  and  came  home  with  ]\Ir. 
Graham.      Dear  Gabriel,  I  shall  not  forget  him. 

I  hope  you  are  getting  better.  Pray  remember  me  to 
Mrs.  Scott. — Always  very  truly  yours, 

Vernox  Lushixgton. 

And  so  mv  Notes  brinor  themselves  to  an  end, 
at  least  as  far  as  we  can  be  sure  of  anything  we  say 
or  do  ending  as  long  as  we  live.  My  work  has  not 
been  Art  for  Art's  sake,  but  truth  for  truth's  sake. 
There  is  no  other  writing  quite  honourable  for  a 
man  to  do  ;  and  I  shall  miss  the  little  task  I  have 
always  fallen  back  upon  as  an  occupation  in  the 
absence  of  any  other  more  urgent  in  this  pleasant 
retirement  I  enjoy,  invalid  as  I  am,  waiting  till  the 
fatal  bell  shall  call  me  home.  The  day  is  a  fine, 
warm  day  in  late  September  ;  Miss  Boyd  and  the 
gardener  are  among  the  flowers  preparing  for  the 
next  spring  beforehand,  by  cutting  and  layering  such 

END   OF  NOTES  319 

as  are  preservable ;  so  the  seasons  bring  their 
everlasting  repetition  of  interest.  I  shall  go  to  join 
them  as  soon  as  I  have  wound  up  by  transcribing 
the  following  poem,  written  last  year  : 

On  my  Birthday,  /E.  70 

So  many  years  I've  gone  this  way! 
So  many  years  !   I  must  confess 
Waste  energies,  much  disarray. 
Yet  can  I  own  no  weariness, 
Nor  see  I  evening  shadows  fall 
Down  my  much-inscriptioned  wall ; 
The  warm  air  still  is  like  mid-day, 
And  many  mournful  ghosts  have  past. 

Laid  still  at  last. 
The  Fabulist's  fardel  lighter  grew 
As  near  the  bourne  the  bearer  drew  ; 
Life  can,  alas,  no  more  surprise 
By  its  continuous  compromise  ; 
New  faces  fill  the  chairs,  and  so 
Our  interest  in  the  game  runs  low  ; 
Quiet  pleasures  longest  stay  ; 
Experience  packs  so  much  away. 

I  wait  and  wonder  :   long  ago 

This  wonder  was  my  constant  guest, 

Wonder  at  our  environing, 

And  at  myself  within  the  ring  ; 

Still  that  abides,  and  still  some  quest 

Before  my  footsteps  seems  to  lie, 

But  quest  of  what  I  scarcely  know, 

And  life  itself  makes  no  reply  : 

A  quest  for  naught  that  earth  supplies,- 

This  is  our  latest  compromise. 

So  many  years  Fve  gone  this  way. 
It  seems  I  may  walk  on  for  aye  ; 


"  Long  life,  God's  gift,"  my  brother  prayed, 

Nearing  the  confines  of  the  dead, 

Going  reluctant,  not  afraid  ; 

With  thankful  breath  I  bow  the  head 

Thinking  of  those  grave  words  to-day. 

The  ancient  tempter  well  divined 
This  longing  of  the  sunlit  blind  : 
"  Ye  shall  be  v/ise  as  gods,"  he  said  : 
"  If  ye  obey  me  undismayed." 
Ah,  never  may  this  be  !   though  still 
In  hope  we  climb  the  topless  hill. 
'Tis  but  the  ending  of  the  strife, 
Calms  while  it  crowns  the  weary  head. 
Weary  yet  anxious  still  with  eyes 
Bent  forward  to  some  hoped-for  prize. 
But  not  until  beyond  our  life. 
Can  the  life's  oracle  be  read. 
When  the  unanswered  brain  and  heart 
Have  ceased  to  ask  and  ceased  to  smart, 
And  all  the  centuries  to  come 
Like  centuries  past  to  us  are  dumb. 


Nine  more  years  remained  to  Mr.  Scott  after  he 
wrote  the  grave  and  touching  verses  with  which  his 
Autobiography  ends.  When  he  died  on  the  22nd  of 
November  1890,  he  had  nearly  completed  the  full 
sum  of  fourscore  years.  During  the  last  six  of 
them  his  strength  was  greatly  impaired  by  recurring 
attacks  oi  angina  pectoris.  That  his  long  extension 
of  life  beyond  the  ordinary  span  was  not  labour  and 
sorrow,  was  due  entirely  to  that  other  "God's  gift" 
besides  "long  life"  for  which  he  has  recorded  his 
gratitude,  the  gift  of  a  noble  woman's  devoted 
friendship.  When  it  became  apparent  that  he  could 
no  longer  stand  the  strain  of  active  work,  Miss  Boyd 
put  her  house  at  his  service,  devoted  her  whole  time 
to  him,  and  nursed  him  with  a  care  and  skill  to 
which  it  would  be  hard  to  find  a  parallel.  The 
poet's  dreams  of  an  ideal  friendship  were  realised  as 
such  dreams  can  seldom  have  been.  Often  and 
often  has  Dr.  Valentine,  the  kindly  and  efficient 
doctor  who  attended  him  in  those  last  years  at  Pen- 
kill,  a  sympathetic  philosopher  as  well  as  a  physician, 

VOL.   II  Y 


spoken  to  me  of  Miss  Boyd's  self-sacrificing  devotion, 
of  the  tender  care  and  cheerful  tact  with  which  she 
guarded  her  patient  from  excitement  and  worry, 
from  everything  that  might  remotely  bring  on  one 
of  the  dreaded  paroxysms,  and  the  ready  and 
resourceful  presence  of  mind  with  which  she 
administered  the  necessary  remedies  when  attacks 
came  in  spite  of  all  her  care. 

I  have  asked  Miss  Boyd  to  furnish  me  with 
some  notes  of  the  beginnings  of  this  intermittent 
illness  and  the  invalid's  habits  in  its  intervals.  I 
give  them  here  in  her  own  words. 

The  weakness  of  his  heart  first  showed  itself  on  the 
23rd  April  1885. 

He  had  been  working  at  South  Kensington,  at  the 
examination  of  students'  drawings,  from  the  13th  of  April, 
and  did  not  feel  well,  but  had  no  idea  of  anything  serious 
being  the  matter  till  the  23  rd  of  the  month  at  three  o'clock 
in  the  morning,  when  he  was  seized  with  frightful  heart- 
spasm,  and  from  that  time  till  his  death  he  was  liable  to 
dreadful  attacks  of  the  same,  and  never  recovered  his 
bodily  strength,  always  requiring  to  be  most  careful  of 
cold  or  exertion  of  any  kind. 

This  beginning  of  his  illness  took  place  at  his  Chelsea 
home  (Bellevue),  where  he  remained  till  his  doctors  thought 
him  well  enough  to  bear  the  journey  to  Scotland.  They 
considered  this  change  might  be  useful  to  him.  Dr.  R. 
Thompson  and  Professor  John  Marshall  were  his  medical 

So  we  made  an  arrangement  for  a  through  invalid 
carriage  from  Euston  to  take  us  to  Girvan  without  change. 

Unfortunately,  owing  to  the  stupid  carelessness  of  the 
officials,  clerks  at  the  ticket-office,  and  porters,  he  had  so 
much  exertion  at  the  station  before  starting  that  he  was 
greatly   exhausted,    and    almost    fainted.       We    (he    and 


I)  went  by  the  8.45  P.M.  train,  and  journeyed  all  night, 
on  the  25th-26th  of  June.  As  the  night  advanced  he  be- 
came very  cold,  and  at  about  three  o'clock  in  the  morning, 
when  the  train  was  going  at  great  speed,  he  was  attacked 
by  a  frightful  heart-spasm,  and  I  thought  he  was  dying. 
I  could  hardly  get  the  necessary  medicines  given,  from 
the  swinging  of  the  carriage  ;  a  dreadful  night  of  suffering 
it  was.  At  last  the  paroxysm  passed  away,  and  though 
much  exhausted  and  very  weak,  he  appeared  to  have 
recovered  by  the  time  we  got  to  our  journey's  end. 

Alas  !  this  was  not  the  case,  for  on  the  night  of  the 
28th  there  was  a  dreadful  return  of  illness,  with  congestion 
of  the  lungs.  When  we  got  to  Penkill  on  the  26th  it 
would  have  been  right  for  him  to  have  gone  to  bed  and 
kept  quiet,  but  the  pleasure  of  finding  himself  at  last  back 
at  the  old  place  made  us  imprudent,  and  we  walked  and 
drove  about,  thinking  our  troubles  were  over. 

A  very  long  illness  followed,  and  the  first  time  he  got 
out  again  into  the  sunshine  was  the  20th  of  July.  After 
this  he  regained  strength  to  some  extent,  and  we  were 
always  hoping  that  in  time  he  might  be  able  to  resume  a 
more  active  life,  but  on  the  28th  September  another 
attack,  followed  by  congestion  of  the  lungs,  showed  that 
this  was  not  to  be,  although  sometimes  months  would 
pass  without  a  relapse.  Once,  indeed,  he  was  free  for 
eight  months,  and  even  /  was  rather  hopeful. 

Looking  back  one  sees  how  each  year  there  was  a 
change  ;  something  had  to  be  given  up,  until  at  last  he 
had  no  power  of  walking  or  taking  the  least  exertion. 

It  was  wonderful  how  the  mental  powers  were  un- 
changed, and  how  alive  he  was  to  everything  that  before 
had  interested  him  ;  but  all  this  you  know  better  than  I 
can  tell  you. 

I  give  you  this  painful,  short  sketch  of  the  progress 
of  his  illness  as  you  ask  me  to  do  so  ;  but  from  your  own 
observation  you  can  understand  better  than  I  can  tell  you 
how  patiently  and  nobly  he  endured  five  long  years  of 
sickness,  how  unselfish  and  thoughtful  he  was  for  those 


about  him,  and  kindly  and  loving  to  all  his  friends  ; 
al\va}'s  ready,  if  in  his  power,  to  help  those  in  trouble, 
even  thinking  of  what  he  could  do  for  them  when  suffering 
greatly  himself 

He  read  a  good  deal,  as  you  know,  and  friends  were 
most  kind  (you  among  the  number)  in  sending  him  books 
that  they  thought  would  interest  him. 

Now  and  then  he  painted  a  little  when  well  enough, 
and  his  hand  and  eye  never  lost  their  power — the  one  as 
firm  and  the  other  as  clear  as  ever  to  the  last,  as  his  hand- 
writing can  show. 

The  picture  which  he  painted  from  a  sketch  done 
years  ago  of  the  landing-place  of  St.  Columba,  on  lona, 
shows  how  he  retained  his  sense  of  colour  and  feeling 
for  the  beauties  of  wild,  rugged  landscape  scenery,  and 
the  painting  of  the  sea  is  as  good  as  at  any  time  of  his 
life,  and  that  is  not  saying  a  little.  He  began  this  picture 
on  the  loth  September  1887,  and  from  time  to  time 
worked  upon  it  to  within  about  a  year  of  his  death.  It 
is  not  quite  finished,  but  is  a  beautiful  work,  full  of  poetic 
feeling.  He  always  had  a  great  love  of  the  sea,  seen  from 
the  land,  for  he  was  no  sailor,  and  one  of  the  drives  he 
loved  best  was  along  the  coast,  south  of  Girvan,  where 
you  and  I  went  the  last  time  you  were  here.  Sometimes 
when  the  sea  was  very  calm  he  would  stop  the  carriage  to 
listen  to  the  wash  of  the  waves  till  his  eyes  filled  with 

Fortunately  his  love  of  Penkill  was  so  great  that  he 
never  tired  of  it  ;  and  the  enjoyment  he  had  in  the  change 
of  the  seasons — the  flowers  as  they  came,  and  the  farming 
operations,  ploughing  in  the  autumn,  with  flocks  of  white 
sea-birds  following  in  the  new-turned  furrows,  the  sower 
going  out  to  sow,  scattering  the  seed  as  he  goes — was 
always  a  delight.  Then  the  harvesting — the  strong  man 
on  the  reaping  machine,  his  powerful  arms  regulating  the 
swathes  of  corn  with  his  large  rake,  and  the  "  gatherers  " 
ready,  each  in  his  place,  quickly  and  deftly  securing  and 
binding  his  or  her  sheaf     When  possible,  we  used  to  drive 


our  brougham  into  the  field,  and  watch  row  by  row  of  the 
golden  corn  fall  as  the  large  horses  slowly  wended  their 

The  fact  was  that  work,  big  or  little,  really  done  zvell, 
gave  very  great  delight  to  his  true  artist's  eye.  When  our 
new  hall^  was  building  he  would  (this  was  before  his  illness) 
sit  watching  the  masons  placing  their  stones  and  proving 
their  lines  by  the  "  plumb,"  and  anything  done  not  as  it 
should  be  was  very  disturbing  to  him  ;  and  often  have  I 
been  made  to  do  things  over  again  when  I  thought  them 
pretty  good  ! 

This  desire  to  do  the  best  possible  ran  through  all  his 
actions  in  life,  and  a  most  severe  critic  he  was  of  himself, 
and  so  tender-hearted  that  I  have  known  him  deprived  of 
sleep  by  the  thought  that  perhaps  a  spoken  or  written 
word  of  his  might  hurt  the  feelings  of  a  friend. 

I  should  like  it  to  be  recorded  how  very  ready  he  was 
to  give  wise  advice  to  young  men  entering  upon  life  ;  and 
however  busy  he  might  be  when  called  upon,  he  seldom, 
if  ever,  sent  them  away  without  a  hearing,  and  to  many 
he  became  a  loving,  helpful  friend. 

To  read  a  list  of  the  many  good,  kind  friends  who 
came  from  far  to  see  him  here,  as  he  could  not  go  to  them, 
shows  the  loving  interest  they  had  in  him.  I  give  you  a 
list  of  those  I  remember.  Others  there  were  who  would 
have  come,  but  his  illnesses  prevented  him  from  seeing 

Vernon  Lushington  {jiiany  times).  Eyre  Crowe. 

F.  Hueffer.  J.  W.  Gibb. 

H.  Bowler.  William  Morris. 

1  [The  foundation  of  this  extension  of  Penkill  (the  exterior  of 
which  is  shown  in  the  annexed  photograph)  was  laid  in  March  1883; 
the  building  was  finished  by  the  end  of  the  season,  and  it  was  ready 
for  habitation  in  the  summer  of  1884.  It  was  designed  entirely, 
outside  and  inside,  stonework  and  woodwork,  down  to  the  smallest 
detail  of  decoration,  by  Mr.  Scott.  He  had  no  professional  assist- 
ance except  from  the  local  master-workmen,  and  he  was  naturally 
proud  of  it  as  his  solitary  achievement  in  architecture.  The  annexed 
view  of  the  interior  is  from  a  painting  by  Mr.  Arthur  Hughes. — Ed.] 


Arthur  Hughes  {many  times).  W.  J.  Linton  {twice). 

Hubert  Home.  F.  G.  Ellis  {from  Torquay). 

Mr.  Hipkins.  T.  Bayne. 

J.  W.  Mackail  {many  times).  Professor  Nichol. 

William  Minto  {many  times).  Rev.  W.  Anderson. 

Sydney  Morse.  Walter  C.  Smith. 
J.  M.  Gray. 

From  what  Miss  Boyd  says  it  will  be  seen 
that  the  dear  old  Hermit,  as  we  used  to  call  him, 
though  invalided  from  active  work,  had  lost  none  of 
his  interest  in  life,  and  kept  up  many  of  his  old 
occupations.  For  more  than  a  year  after  his  enforced 
seclusion  at  Penkill,  he  cherished  the  hope  of  being 
able  to  return  to  London,  but  as  his  strength  was 
gradually  weakened  by  attack  after  attack  of  the 
painful  malady,  he  resigned  himself  to  the  inevitable. 
Thus  I  find  him  writing  as  follows  in  a  letter  dated 
nth  June  1886  : 

As  to  myself  I  have  been  very  much  the  same  all 
through  this  long  winter  and  longer  and  worse  spring. 
In  general  health  well,  but  unable  to  bear  the  very  least 
fatigue  of  body  or  exposure  to  the  air.  I  am  not 
allowed  to  go  up  a  stair  even  ;  and  the  other  day  (three 
weeks  ago  indeed)  I  tried  to  walk  the  very  short  way  to 
the  garden,  and  that  night  suffered  one  of  the  breathless 
attacks  so  painful  and  which  throw  me  back.  The  result 
is  my  medico  gives  it  as  his  opinion  that  I  can't  be 
allowed  to  travel,  so  here  I  remain,  an  idle  man  trying  to 
fill  up  my  time  by  writing  a  little,  drawing  or  painting  a 
little,  reading  a  little,  and  being  read  to  a  great  deal. 
Sometimes  a  friend  comes  for  a  few  days  ;  the  last  was 
Vernon  Lushington,  so  long  ago  as  in  the  beginning  of 
the  year.  If  I  could  induce  you  to  come,  I  should  be  so 
glad.  Miss  Boyd  tells  me  to  say  how  glad  she  should  be 


Later  on  in  the  same  year,  in  a  letter  dated  30th 
November,  he  says  : 

I  daresay  you  are  surprised  to  find  me  still  here.  The 
truth  is  I  remain  exactly  the  same,  very  weak  and  unable 
almost  to  go  about,  now  and  then  having  those  dreadful 
night  attacks  of  heart  disturbance  that  make  my  doctor 
prohibit  travelling,  and  my  best  of  friends.  Miss  Boyd,  is 
not  tired  of  me.  Mrs.  Scott  comes  and  stays  a  month  or 
so,  and  in  the  intervals  of  my  attacks  I  am  quite  well, 
that  is  to  say,  I  apply  myself  to  writing,  painting,  or  any 
other  work  that  does  not  require  athletic  exercise. 

In  the  autumn  of  the  following  year,  a  propos  of 
a  visit  that  I  proposed  to  make,  after  saying  that  it 
was  "  the  most  delightful  proposal  he  had  had  since 
Christmas,  when  F.  S.  Ellis  came  from  Torquay, 
'  once  errand,'  as  we  say  in  Scotland,  all  that  way, 
for  a  good  long  talk  about  old  friends,"  he  wrote : 

About  my  health.  You  will  do  me  a  great  deal  of  good. 
Living  here  so  much  alone — with  Miss  Boyd,  the  best  of 
company,  indeed,  but  without  the  concussion  of  the 
robuster  nature,  after  spending  all  my  life  in  the  society 
of  sets  or  coteries,  if  you  like,  men  closely  associated  and 
seeing  each  other  daily — I  sometimes  get  into  a  lowish 
key  which  prevents  me  applying  myself  to  anything 
whatever,  and  does  not  assist  to  get  me  out  of  the  invalid 
groove.  At  present  I  am  amazingly  well,  having  had 
none  of  the  night  attacks  of  congestion  for  some  months, 
but  I  am  so  weak  and  so  unable  to  walk  that  I  am  never 
out  except  in  a  brougham.  When  planted  in  an  easy 
chair  I  may  say  I  am  as  w^ell  as  ever  I  was,  and  expect 
you  will  treat  me  as  an  impostor,  as  many  oi  my  friends 
have  done,  thinking  to  meet  a  ghost  of  a  creature  with  a 
voice  scarcely  articulate. 

Another  extract  or  two  from  his  letters  to  me, 
which   gradually   became    less    frequent,   will    show 


how  fit  after  fit  of  the  terrible  angina  pulled  him 
down,  and  how  buoyantly  he  continued  to  rally  after 
each  successive  attack.  In  January  1888  he 
writes  : 

I  am  again  clothed  and  I  hope  in  my  right  mind, 
being  trusted  with  a  pen  in  my  hand,  although  under  a 
severe  admonition  not  to  write  much,  nor  about  anything 
very  trying  to  the  nerves.  Do  you  know  this  last  month 
of  1887  has  been  the  severest  trial  in  life  I  have  yet  had, 
and  yet  I  have  got  over  it  remarkably  well,  and  can  look 
forward  to  your  promised  visit  in  the  spring  with  great 

More  than  a  year  later,  in  April  1889,  he 
writes  : 

You  see  I  have  just  been  allowed  to  write  by  the 
medico,  but  I  feel  no  difference  after  so  long  a  cessation, 
and  suppose  you  don't  see  any  difference  in  my  scrawl. 
Yet  this  latest  heart-spasm  has  pulled  me  down  more 
than  any  of  my  late  attacks  have  done.  .  .  .  Having  just 
been  allowed  pen  in  hand  I  am  expected  to  write  only  a 
few  words,  so  I  shall  stop,  having  little  more  to  say.  This 
morning  I  have  got  by  post  a  copy  of  W.  J.  Linton's 
volume  of  poems  just  published  by  Nimmo.  It  is  full  of 
spirit,  and  beautiful  lyrics,  and  is  dedicated  to  me,  as  the 
friend  of  fifty  years.  He  is  my  age,  yet  all  his  later 
poems  are  on  LOVE,  a  fack  that  baffles  me  to  understand. 

His  wide  knowledfje  of  men  and  books  and  art, 
and  the  scope  and  freshness  of  his  interests,  made 
him  one  of  the  most  delightful  of  partners  in  a  talk, 
and  my  visits  to  Penkill  must  always  remain  among 
my  most  pleasant  memories.  In  the  morning  and 
early  afternoon  we  had  no  fear  of  the  effects  of  over- 
excitement  on  the  night's  rest,  and  he  was  equal  to 





the  toughest  of  conversation,  always  eager  to  hear 
and  keen  to  discuss  any  kind  of  inquiry,  Hterary  or 
philosophic,  that  I  happened  to  be  engaged  in,  or  to 
bring  on  the  tapis  any  book  or  article  that  had 
attracted  his  attention.  In  the  evening  we  had  to 
be  more  careful.  I  then  did  my  best  to  second 
Miss  Boyd's  skilful  efforts  to  turn  the  tide  of  talk  on 
pleasant  reminiscences.  A  very  picturesque  figure 
he  looked  propped  up  in  the  curiously-carved  bed  in 
the  tapestried  chamber,  of  which  a  photograph  is 
printed  in  this  volume.  His  scarlet  biretta  and 
cowl  made  one  think  of  an  invalid  Cardinal  Inquisitor, 
but  very  far  from  inquisitorial  was  the  laugh  with 
which  he  capped  our  little  jokes  and  anecdotes. 
These  evening  hours  were  the  happiest  hours  of  his 
invalid  day,  when  the  lamps  were  lit,  a  little  square 
red  box  ranged  on  the  bed  before  him,  and  placed 
thereon  the  glass  of  hot  grog  which  was  one  of  the 
milder  features  of  his  severe  regimen. 

A  certain  hankering  after  serious  work,  a  desire 
to  be  still  producing  "  were  it  but  the  infinitesimallest 
fraction  of  a  product,"  never  quite  left  him.  He 
had  been  so  indefatigable  a  worker  all  his  life  long 
that  he  could  not  be  idle  without  uneasiness,  and 
never  could  quite  get  rid  of  an  uncomfortable  feeling 
that  he  ought  to  be  doing  something.  This  restless- 
ness was  Miss  Boyd's  greatest  difficulty  as  an  ever- 
vigilant  nurse.  She  quickly  discovered  how  much 
he  could  do  without  risk,  and  kept  him  within  safe 
limits  with  the  most  delicate  and  delightful  tact. 
Only   a    brute    would    have  been   refractory  under 


such  tender  authority,  enforced  as  it  was  with  the 
liveliest  wit,  and  he  was  as  docile  as  a  good-natured 
child.  The  smile  of  placid  content  with  which  after 
some  demur  and  protest  he  resigned  himself  to  a 
judicious  restriction  on  his  freedom  of  will  was  one 
of  the  most  perfect  expressions  of  happiness  it  has 
ever  been  my  lot  to  see. 

One  of  his  occupations  was  to  prepare  a  series 
of  etchings  from  his  paintings  on  the  Penkill  staircase, 
with  a  preface  on  The  Kings  Qtiair  from  which  the 
subjects  were  taken.  This  he  had  privately  printed, 
and  issued  to  his  friends  in  1887.  He  wrote  very 
little  verse.  All  his  life  it  had  been  a  principle  with 
him  never  to  write  verse  except '  under  a  strong 
inspiration,  and  this  excitement  being  dangerous 
was  not  encouraged.  Now  and  again,  however,  the 
impulse  seized  him  and  would  not  be  denied,  and 
one  of  his  last  labours  was  to  prepare  for  the  printer 
in  his  punctiliously  neat  manner  a  small  collection 
of  pieces  to  follow  a  second  edition  of  his  Harvest 
Home  as  an  Aftermath.  This  he  asked  me,  In  the 
spring  of  1890,  to  see  through  the  press,  the  con- 
dition being  that  he  was  to  see  nothing  of  It  till  the 
book  appeared  ;  but  the  negotiations  with  a  publisher 
were  hardly  begun  when  Miss  Boyd  saw  that  the 
prospect  made  him  anxious,  and  it  was  given  up. 
Perhaps  his  chief  occupation  during  his  years  of 
Illness  was  reading  and  revising  the  Autobiographic 
Notes  now  printed.  In  the  last  chapter  he  speaks 
as  If  his  intention  had  been  in  1882  to  lay  them 
aside   for  ever.      But  this  he  could  not   do.      Miss 


Boyd  tells  me  that  she  often  left  him  apparently 
tranquil,  quietly  reading  or  disposed  to  sleep,  and 
returned  to  find  him  with  the  MS.  before  him,  busily 
revising,  re-writing,  and  interpolating.  Till  I 
discovered  that  this  had  been  his  practice,  I  was 
often  puzzled  by  allusions  that  seemed  to  be  of  later 
date  than  the  ostensible  time  of  writing,  and  any 
confusion  arising  from  this  I  have  tried  to  put 
straight.  With  characteristic  love  of  order  he  neatly 
pasted  in  every  correction,  so  as  not  to  break  the 
continuity  of  the  MS. 

If  he  wrote  little  during  those  last  years,  he  read 
and  was  read  to  a  great  deal,  keeping  himself  well 
abreast  of  everything  going  on  outside  his  quiet 
hermitao-e.  Like  his  other  friends  I  went  to  Penkill 
only  when  his  kind  hostess  had  the  doctor's  consent 
to  the  invitation.  But  to  the  last  I  could  never  see 
any  falling-off  in  the  old  breadth  and  variety  of  his 
interests.  His  mind  continued  to  be  a  mirror  of  the 
English  world  of  art  and  letters.  Any  new  move- 
ment at  once  caught  his  attention  and  was  eagerly 
followed.  To  take  the  first  examples  that  occur  to 
me,  I  heard  of  Robert  Bridges  from  him  before  Mr. 
Lang's  praise  had  made  that  name  as  familiar  as  it  is 
now.  Of  his  interest  in  Mr.  Lang's  own  brilliant 
career  he  has  spoken  in  his  Notes  ;  it  continued  to 
the  last.  I  sent  him  Mr.  Henley's  Book  of  Verses 
w^hen  it  came  out  :  my  copy  was  returned  by  and  by 
with  a  message  that  he  had  ordered  one  for  his  own 
use.  Before  his  illness  he  had  designed  a  frontis- 
piece for  Love  in  Idleness.     One  of  the  three  then 


youthful  authors,  Mr.  Mackail,  is  in  Miss  Boyd's 
list  of  frequent  visitors  to  Penkill.  Another  name 
also  there  is  Mr.  Hubert  Home's.  The  ideas  and 
aims  of  the  Century  Guild  were  likely  to  commend 
themselves  to  one  who  was  in  himself  an  embodi- 
ment of  the  unity  of  the  Arts.  He  contributed  a 
poem  to  the  Hobby  Horse  as  in  years  gone  by  he 
had  contributed  to  the  Germ.  And  while  young 
men  found  his  appreciation  of  their  work  as  fresh  as 
it  was  in  the  Pre-Raphaelite  days,  he  continued  to 
maintain  pleasant  relations  with  many  old  friends, 
and  to  receive  public  acknowledgments  of  respect 
and  affection.  I  have  quoted  from  a  letter  in  which 
he  speaks  of  Mr.  W.  J.  Linton's  dedication  of  a  new 
volume  of  Poems  and  Translations  to  "  the  friend  of 
nearly  fifty  years."  A  poet  of  a  younger  generation, 
Mr.  Cosmo  Monkhouse,  inscribed  Corn  and  Poppies 
to  his  veteran  friend.  But  the  tribute  in  this  kind 
which  naturally  gratified  the  old  man  most  was  the 
splendid  poem  in  which  Mr.  Swinburne  dedicated 
to  him  his  third  series  of  Poems  and  Ballads. 

That  Mr.  Scott  should  have  kept  the  love  and 
respect  of  so  many  friends  was  but  just,  for  he  was 
essentially  a  man  of  a  genial  and  friendly  disposition, 
as  these  autobiographical  notes  abundantly  testify. 
With  some,  as  I  have  been  surprised  to  hear  since 
his  death,  he  had  the  repute  of  saying  severe  things, 
of  taking  characters  to  pieces  in  a  grudging  spirit,  of 
reducing  personal  pretensions  to  the  lowest  possible 
denomination  something  after  the  manner  of  Carlyle. 
This   I   simply  cannot  understand,  except  as  a  mis- 


understanding.  Those  who  knew  him  best  do  not 
say  this  of  him.  It  is  very  far  from  being  my  own 
impression.  I  had  many  a  long  talk  with  him  in 
the  sixteen  years  during  which  I  had  the  privilege 
of  knowing  him,  and  I  can  aver  that  I  have  never 
heard  him  say  an  unjust  or  uncharitable  word,  and 
that  I  have  heard  him  say  many  a  generous  one. 
It  is  true  that  though  he  lived  all  his  life,  as  he  says 
in  one  of  the  letters  I  have  quoted,  in  sets  or  coteries, 
he  had  not  the  coterie  weakness — an  amiable  enough 
one  in  its  way — of  seeing  only  the  merits  of  his 
fellow-members.  He  had  too  scrupulous  a  literary 
and  artistic  conscience  for  this.  He  simply  could  not 
praise  what  he  did  not  honestly  admire.  Perhaps 
he  was  sometimes  too  outspoken  about  shortcomings. 
The  less  a  member  of  a  coterie  says  about  the  work 
of  his  fellow-members,  except  in  the  way  of  uphold- 
ing it  against  the  envious  and  calumniating  tooth  of 
the  world,  the  better  for  his  peace  of  mind,  for  a 
bird  of  the  air,  in  the  shape  of  a  candid  friend,  is 
generally  ready  to  carry  the  voice.  Mr.  Scott  had  the 
knack  of  putting  things  happily,  in  graphic  phrases 
that  exactly  expressed  his  meaning,  and  when  they 
came  to  his  lips,  he  could  not  always  judiciously  keep 
them  back.  Thus  I  have  heard  him,  after  a  very 
just  and  liberal  allowance  of  merit,  sum  up  by  saying 
that  So-and-so  "  had  no  devil  in  him,"  or  that  So- 
and-so  "was  no  doubt  a  very  respectable  codger" — 
the  remark,  of  course,  applying  to  the  artist,  not  to 
the  man.  He  would  not,  of  course,  say  such  things 
to  So-and-so  himself.     The  friendliness  of  his  nature 


would  lead  him  rather  to  keep  any  sense  of  demerit 
or  defect  in  the  background.  But  a  candid  friend 
might  carry  the  voice. 

I  do  not,  however,  conceive  that  it  is  any  part  of 
my  duty  to  comment  on  the  character  of  my  much- 
beloved  old  friend.  It  is  very  fully  and  frankly 
revealed  in  these  Autobiographic  Notes.  A  wise 
and  charitable  soul  makes  itself  felt  in  every  chapter 
of  them.  I  have  no  doubt  that  those  who  knew 
him  will  have  the  same  feeling  that  I  had  myself  on 
first  perusing  them.  So  direct  and  sincere  is  their 
utterance,  they  are  written  so  exactly  as  the  man 
was  in  the  habit  of  speaking,  that  one  seems  to  hear 
his  voice  behind  every  sentence — the  grave-pitched 
kindly  voice  with  its  slow  measured  articulation 
which  was  so  true  an  index  of  the  grave,  thoughtful, 
kindly  nature. 

He  died  on  the  22nd  of  November  1890.  A 
few  weeks  after  his  death  there  appeared  in  the 
AthencBiLm  a  noble  tribute  to  his  memory  which 
I  have  Mr.  Swinburne's  permission  to  reprint  here. 



A  life  more  bright  than  the  sun's  face,  bowed 
Through  stress  of  season  and  coil  of  cloud. 

Sets  :  and  the  sorrow  that  casts  out  fear 
Scarce  deems  him  dead  in  his  chill  still  shroud, 

Dead  on  the  breast  of  the  dying  year. 
Poet  and  painter  and  friend,  thrice  dear 

For  love  of  the  suns  long  set,  for  love 
Of  song  that  sets  not  with  sunset  here. 


For  love  of  the  fervent  heart,  above 

Their  sense  who  saw  not  the  swift  Hght  move 

That  filled  with  sense  of  the  loud  sun's  lyre 
The  thoughts  that  passion  was  fain  to  prove 

In  fervent  labour  of  high  desire 

And  faith  that  leapt  from  its  own  quenched  pyre 

Alive  and  strong  as  the  sun,  and  caught 
From  darkness  light,  and  from  twilight  fire. 

Passion,  deep  as  the  depths  unsought 

Whence  faith's  own  hope  may  redeem  us  nought, 

Filled  full  with  ardour  of  pain  sublime 
His  mourning  song  and  his  mounting  thought. 

Elate  with  sense  of  a  sterner  time. 

His  hand's  flight  clomb  as  a  bird's  might  climb 

Calvary  :   dark  in  the  darkling  air 
That  shrank  for  fear  of  the  crowning  crime. 

Three  crosses  rose  on  the  hillside  bare. 
Shewn  scarce  by  grace  of  the  lightning's  glare 
That  clove  the  veil  of  the  temple  through 
And  smote  the  priests  on  the  threshold  there.^ 

The  soul  that  saw  it,  the  hand  that  drew. 
Whence  light  as  thought's  or  as  faith's  glance  flew, 

And  stung  to  life  the  sepulchral  past, 
And  bade  the  stars  of  it  burn  anew, 

Held  no  less  than  the  dead  world  fast 
The  light  live  shadows  about  them  cast. 

The  likeness  living  of  dawn  and  night. 
The  days  that  pass  and  the  dreams  that  last. 

1  [The  reference  here  is  to  Mr.  Scott's  picture  of  the  theme  : — 
"  And,  behold  !  the  vail  of  the  Temple  was  rent  in  twain  from  the 
top  to  the  bottom,  and  the  earth  did  quake,  and  the  rocks 
rent." — Ed.] 


Thought,  clothed  round  with  sorrow  as  light, 
Dark  as  a  cloud  that  the  moon  turns  bright, 

Moved,  as  a  wind  on  the  striving  sea. 
That  yearns  and  quickens  and  flags  in  flight. 

Through  forms  of  colour  and  song  that  he 
Who  fain  would  have  set  its  wide  wings  free 
Cast  round  it,  clothing  or  chaining  hope 
With  lights  that  last  not  and  shades  that  flee. 

Scarce  in  song  could  his  soul  find  scope, 
Scarce  the  strength  of  his  hand  might  ope 

Art's  inmost  gate  of  her  sovereign  shrine. 
To  cope  with  heaven  as  a  man  may  cope. 

But  high  as  the  hope  of  a  man  may  shine 
The  faith,  the  fervour,  the  life  divine 

That  thrills  our  lif6  and  transfigures,  rose 
And  shone  resurgent,  a  sunbright  sign. 

Through  shapes  whereunder  the  strong  soul  glows 
And  fills  them  full  as  a  sunlit  rose 

With  sense  and  fervour  of  life,  whose  light 
The  fool's  eye  knows  not,  the  man's  eye  knows. 

None  that  can  read  or  divine  aright 

The  scriptures  w^it  of  the  soul  may  slight 

The  strife  of  a  strenuous  soul  to  show 
More  than  the  craft  of  the  hand  may  write. 

None  may  slight  it,  and  none  may  know 
How  high  the  flames  that  aspire  and  glow 

From  heart  and  spirit  and  soul  may  climb 
And  triumph  ;  higher  than  the  souls  lie  low 

Whose  hearing  hears  not  the  livelong  rhyme, 
Whose  eyesight  sees  not  the  light  sublime. 

That  shines,  that  sounds,  that  ascends  and  lives 
Unquenched  of  change,  unobscured  of  time. 


A  long  life's  length,  as  a  man's  life  gives 
Space  for  the  spirit  that  soars  and  strives 

To  strive  and  soar,  has  the  soul  shone  through 
That  heeds  not  whither  the  world's  wind  drives 

Now  that  the  days  and  the  ways  it  knew 
Are  strange,  are  dead  as  the  dawn's  grey  dew 

At  high  midnoon  of  the  mounting  day 
That  mocks  the  might  of  the  dawn  it  slew. 

Yet  haply  may  not — and  haply  may — 
No  sense  abide  of  the  dead  sun's  ray 

Wherein  the  soul  that  outsoars  us  now 
Rejoiced  with  ours  in  its  radiant  sway. 

Hope  may  hover,  and  doubt  may  bow. 
Dreaming.      Haply — they  dream  not  how — 
Not  life  but  death  may  indeed  be  dead 
When  silence  darkens  the  dead  man's  brow. 

Hope,  whose  name  is  remembrance,  fed 
With  love  that  lightens  from  seasons  fled, 

Dreams,  and  craves  not  indeed  to  know. 
That  death  and  life  are  as  souls  that  wed. 

But  change  that  falls  on  the  heart  like  snow    • 
Can  chill  not  memory  nor  hope,  that  show 

The  soul,  the  spirit,  the  heart  and  head, 
Alive  above  us  who  strive  below. 

Algernon  Charles  Swinburne. 



Academy,  Royal,  i.  107,  109,  no 
Allan,  Sir  W.,  i.  80 
Allingham,  \V.,  ii.  31,  32 
Aiitiqttarian  Gleanings,  i.  220 
Arloshes  of  Woodside,  i.  221 
Armitage,  painter,  i.  169 
Art  and  Artists  in  1837,  i.  105-13 
Art,    Italian,    heresies    on,    i.    231  ; 

Bavarian,  318 
Atlas,   The,  Editor  of,  i.  123 
Autobiography  of  1854  destroyed,  i. 

3,  276 


Balder,  i.  80,  100 

Ballads,  Jacobite,  i.  79 

"  Ballad  Singer,  Old  English,"  picture, 

i.   108,  no,  114 
Ballantine,    James,    fellow  -  pupil    in 

Edinburgh,  i.  81  ;  ii.  2,  206 
Barker,  Fiott,  i.  342,  343 
Barnby,  Goodwin,  the  Proto-Shiloh, 

i.  174,  175 

Battei-sea  Bells,  sonnets,  ii.  294,  295 

Bavarian  Art,  i.  318 

"  Bede,  Death  of,"  picture,  ii.  7 

Bee,  The,  \.  21 

Beetham,  Father,  i.  349 

Beham's  "  Fountain  of  Rejuvenes- 
cence," ii.  278 

Bell,  Henry  Glassford,  i.  78 

Bell's  English  Poets,  i.  14 

Bentham,  Leigh  Hunt's  opinion  of 
his  atheism,  i.   129 

Bewick,  compared  with  Rosch,  i. 

Bewick,  Robert,  i.  194-96 

Blair's  Grave,  i.  21,  68,  74 

Blake's  designs  for  The  Grave,  i.  21, 
23  ;  Sonnet  on,  23  ;  Songs  of  In- 
nocence, 22 

"Boccaccio  and  Dante's  Daughter," 
picture  by  W.  B.  S.,  i.  305 

Bowler,   H.  A.,  sketch  by,  ii.   296; 


Boyd,  Miss,  ii.  54,  56,  57,  59; 
removes  from  Newcastle  to  London 
with  the  Scotts,  73  ;  tries  to  defeat 
a  prophecy,  79;  163,  169,  181, 
182,  291-302,  318,  321 

Boyd,  Spencer,  ii.  75,  77  ;  death  of, 
78;  name  "thought-read"  by  a 
medium,  81 

Boydell's  Shakespeare,  i.  16 

Brown,  F.  Madox,  D.  G.  R.  a  pupil 
of,  i.  287  ;  might  have  gone  to 
Australia,  ii.  48  ;  his  family  circle, 
183  ;  the  high  character  of  his 
painting,  189  ;  a  funny  mistake, 

Brown,  John,  letter  from,  ii.  26,  27 

Brown,  Samuel,  as  medical  student 
in  Edinburgh,  i.  92  ;  in  London, 
157,  158  ;  rhabdomancy,  219  ;  his 
laboratory  in  Portobello,  ii.  i  ; 
death  of,  25-27 

Brown,  Tom,  engraver  and  man  of 
science,  i.  45,  82 

Browning,  performance  of  Straffo7-d, 
i.  124  ;  W.  M.  R.  on  Sordcllo,  ii. 
57  ;  D.  G.  R.  on  Balamtion's 
Adventure,  138  ;  Fifijie  at  the 
Fair,  180 

Browning,  Mrs.,  Aia-ora  Leigh,  ii. 
34  ;  in  Paris,  30  ;  in  Florence,  35 

Burchett,  R.,  ii.  272-75 

Burnet,  John,   engraver  and  printer, 



apprentice  witl;  R.  Scott,  a  "  genius," 

i.  19  ;  his  career,  46,  47 
I3urns,  sonnets  on,  ii.  164;  Rossetti's 

criticisms   of,    152,    155  ;    W.    B. 

S.'s   edition  of,  166  ;    unpublished 

letter  of  his,  177 
Burton,    Sir    F.    W.,    letter    about 

Wallington,     ii.     259-60;     letter 

about    Fans  Jiivcntiitis,    279-81  ; 

letter  in  acknowledgment  of //rt/Tv^i'/' 

Home,  309,  310 

Caine,  T.  Hall,  ii.  304 

Campbell's  Pleastires  of  Hope,  i.  70 

Carlyle,  his  Hero-worship,  i.  158  ; 
satire  of  his  Cromwell,  159;  Hades 
sent  to  him,  159  ;  first  meeting 
with,  269  ;  droll  passage-at-arms 
with,  ii.  20-24  ;  on  Millais'  stair- 
case, 223  ;  and  Thomas  Dixon, 

Carlyle,  Mrs.,  i.  270 

Carmichael,  Newcastle  painter,  i. 
185,  209,  210 

Cartoon  Competition  for  Houses  of 
Parliament,  i.  166-73;  second 
competition,  214 

Chevy  Chase,  subject  of  picture  at 
Wallington,  ii.  11,  118 

Cholera  at  Newcastle,  1.  341 

Clennell,  Luke,  painter,  i.  163  ;  son 
of,  198-201 

Cloud  Confines,  poem  by  D.  G.  R. , 
ii.  146,  154,  155 

Cole,  Sir  H.,  head  of  Science  and 
Art  Department,  i.  181,  329 

Collins,  Charles,  P.R.B.,  i.  285,  2S6 

Collinson,  James,  P.R.B.,  i.  281  ; 
ii.  273 

Constable,  in  1837,  i.  106 

Cope,  painter,  i.  169 

Cowen,  Joseph,  M.P.,  i.  122,  338 

Crowe,  Eyre,  ii.  325 

Crowe,  Mrs.,  i.  218,  219  ;  ii.  2 

Curate,  muscular,  in  cholera  epidemic, 
i.  340,  347,  348 

"  Cuthbert,  St.,"  picture,  ii.  7  ;  D. 
G.  R.'s  criticism,  35,  36 


Dadd,   Richard,  chairman  of  mal- 

contents,   i.    Ill;    in    Houses    of 
Parliament    Cartoon    Competition, 
"  Danes    at    Tynemouth,"    picture, 

ii;  7 

Design,  Schools  of.  History  of,  i. 

De  Quincey,  i.  98  ;  ii.  3 

Deverell,  Walter,  P.R.B.,  i.  285  ; 
his  "Twelfth  Night"  picture,  286, 
315,321;  his  ill-health,  305,  320; 
D.  G.  R.'s  letter  on  his  death,  320 

Dixon,  Thomas,  of  Sunderland,  ii. 
33,  264-72^ 

Dobson,  Austin,  ii.  198 

Doubleday,  Thomas,  Newcastle  poet, 
i.   198 

Dowden,  Prof.,  a  "Rhyme  to  W. 
B.  S.,"  ii.  314 

Diirer,  Albert,  analogue  of  his  work- 
shop, i.  45  ;  his  copper-plates,  50 ; 
visit  to  Niirnberg,  317  ;  picture  of 
his  house,  319;  W.  B.  S.'s  Life  of, 
ii.  193 

Dyce,  William,  painter,  on  prospects 
of  historical  art,  i.  208  ;  and  wall- 
painting,  215 

Eastlake,  Sir  C,  i.  16S-70 

Ebsworth,  J.  W.,  i.  264 

Education,  W.   B.    S.'s  early,   i.   12- 

Eldin,  John  Clerk,  Lord,  i.  18 
Emerson,  R.  W.,  letter  from,  i.  240  ; 

intercourse  with,  241,  242;  portrait 

by  D.  Scott,  241 
Engraver's  business   at  beginning  of 

century,  i.   18-20 
Enthusiast,  an,  ii.  237-41 
Epps,   Dr.  John,  i.  255  ;    his  poetic 

butler,  256 

Fairbairn,  J.  C,  early  friend  of  W. 

B.  S.,  i.  92  ;  letter  from,  93,  94 
Fine  Arts,  chair  of,  in  Edinburgh,  i. 

Fans  Jtive7it litis,   inquiry  into   myth, 

ii.  281-83 
Foxglove,  The,  a  poem,  ii.  122 



Franco -German    War    of    1S70,    ii. 

Franklin,  book  illustrator,  i.  162 
Fresco  painting,  remarks  on,  i.  214, 


Frith,  painter,  in  1837,  1.  no,  112 
Fuseli's  designs,  i.  17  ;  influence  on 
Blake,  23  ;  influence  on  Von  Hoist, 
162  ;  price  of  a  picture  by,  263 

"  Grace  Darling,"  picture,  ii.  7, 

55>  58 
Graffito  paintings  in   S.  K.  Keramic 

Gallery,  ii.   107 
"George   Eliot,"  ii.    71,    247,   248; 

Carlyle  on,  249 
Germ,   The,  i.  282-84,  323 
Gilfillan,  G.,  on  David  Scott,  i.  267 
"  Gilpin,  Bernard,"  picture,  ii.  7,  56 
Gosse,  E.  W.,  ii.  193 


Hall,   S.   C.'s   Booh   of  Ballads,   i. 

Hake,  Dr.,  ii.  172,  176,  178,  180 
Hamerton,  P.  G.,  ii.   124-26 
Hancocks,  the,  of  Newcastle,  i.  184 
Hannay,  ii.  32,  35 
Hart,  Solomon,  ii.  275 
Harvey,  Sir  G.,  ii.  206 
Haydon,    B.    R. ,    personal    traits,    i. 

166-68  ;  at  the  Westminster  Hall 

Cartoon  Competition,  171 
Henley,  W.  E.,  ii.  331 
Henning,  sculptor,  i.   1 1 5 
"  Hexham  Market-Place,"  picture,  i. 

224,  322 
Hogarth  Club,  ii.  47 
Hogarth's  designs,  i.  17 
Hogg,      "  Ettrick      Shepherd,"     his 

Justified  Sinner,  i.  69 
Hoist,  T.  von,  painter,  i.  162-64 
Home,  Hubert,  ii.  326,  332 
Home,  R.  H.,  the  farthing  Orion,  i. 

Horoscope,  i.   119 
Howitt,  W.,  i.  297,  315 
Hovvitt,  Anna  Mary,  letter  from,   i. 

322,  323  ;  her  spiritualism,  ii.  242, 


VOL.  n 

Hueffer,  F.,  ii.  163,  168,  183  ; 
letters  from,  185-87;  nonsense 
verses,  187,   188 

Hughes,  Arthur,  ii.  31,  35,  67,  325 

Hunt,  Holman,  his  painting  in  1848, 
"  Light  of  the  World,"  i.  280  ; 
Ayrshire  sermon  on  this  picture, 
309  ;  letter  giving  its  history,  311 
14  ;  fled  to  the  desert,  320  ;  in 
the  East,  ii.  31  ;  painting  at  home, 
"  Christ  and  the  Doctors,"  35,  49  ^ 
letter  on  technical  matters,  49  ; 
proposed  return  to  East,  50  ; 
sketching  at  Falmouth,  56  ;  sale 
and  exhibition  .of  pictures,  58  ; 
letters  from  Jerusalem,  1870,  1871, 
88-106;  his  "Triumph  of  the 
Innocents,"  221,  225-27;  letter 
concerning,  228-32  ;  the  model 
of  "  The  Prophet,"  241  ;  letter  on 
Harvest  Home  and  death  of  D.  G. 
R.,  311,  312 

Hunt,  Leigh,  i.  125 

Hyp)ierotomacJiia  Poliphili,  ii.  285-88 


Illustrations,  character  of,  in  1 830, 

i-  15 

Introspective  tendency,  i.  3,  329 
"  Iron  and  Coal,"  picture,  ii.  7 
Italian  art,  heresies  on,  i.  231 


Jones,  Burne,  his  first  designs,  ii. 

37  ;    his    indifference   to    opinion, 

Jones,  Ebenezer,  i.  252 

Keats,  early  study  of,  i.  88  ;  Leigh 
Hunt  and,  128 

Kelly,  Father,  i.  348 

Kelmscott,  ii.  130 

Kennedy,  fellow-pupil  in  Edinburgh, 
i.  80 

King's  Qiiair,  subject  of  wall-paint- 
ings at  Penkill,  ii.  83  ;  suggestion 
of  D.  G.  R.'s  King's  Tragedy, 

Z  2 



Lang,  Andrew,  ii.  201,  331 

Lawyers'  marks  from  Penkill  chest,  ii. 

Leathart,  James,  picture  collector,  ii. 
48,  207 

"Legion,  Prince,"  a  series  of  designs, 
i.  131,  132 

Lewes,  G.  H.,  note  from,  i.  129, 
130  ;  his  turn  for  language,  131  ; 
reference  to  early  friendship  in 
Leader,  132  ;  his  youthful  ambi- 
tions, 133  ;  letter  about  Year  of 
the  World,  238  ;  resumes  acquaint- 
ance, ii.  71,  72  ;  death  of,  244  ; 
his  powers,  245 

Lilly,  the  astrologer,  i.  119 

Linton,  W.  J.,  friend  of  Mazzini,  i. 
121  ;  verses  by,  121  ;  at  Brant - 
wood,  122  ;  and  Emerson,  241  ; 
and  politics,  252  ;  D.  G.  R.'s 
opinion  of,  ii.  36  ;  and  Polish 
refugees,  274  ;  poems,  328 

Little  Boy,  poem,  i.  41 

Littledale,  Dr.,  humorous  verses  by, 
ii.  296,  313,  314 

Losh,  Miss,  of  Woodside,  a  Cum- 
berland "Worthy,"  i.  221 

Lushington,  Vernon,  ii.  37,  47  ; 
letter  on  D.  G.  R.'s  funeral,  317, 
325,  326 


Mackail,  J.  W.,  ii.  326,  332 
Maclise,  in  1837,   i.  107,  112  ;    and 

wall-painting,    215  ;     price    of    a 

picture  by,  263  ;   ii.  83-86 
Marshall,  Calder,  sculptor,  i.   161 
Marshall,    Mrs.,    spirit    medium,    ii. 

Marston,  Philip  Bourke,  ii.  198 
Martin,  John,  brother  of,  i.   196 
Marzials,  Theo.,  ii.  194 
Mazzini,  i.  121,  255 
Meadows,    Kenny,    recollections    of, 

i.  1 13-15  ;   his  views  of  town  and 

country,   175  ;   letter  from  Jersey, 

ii.  71 
Michael  Angelo,"  Creation  of  Adam," 

ii.  282,  283  ;  figures  on  the  Medici 

tombs,  283,  284 
Millais,    as   P.R.B.,  i.    278;    "The 

Carpenter's  Shop,"  279  ;   his  fun, 

306-8 ;     resents    bad    hanging,   ii. 
29  ;  anecdotes  of,  222,  223 

Milton,  Thomas,  engraver,  i.  17 

Monk,  a  model,  ii.  241 

Monkhouse,  Cosmo,  ii.  336 

Mormonism  in  Newcastle,  i.  334,  335 

Morris,  William,  fresh  from  Oxford, 
ii.  37  ;  his  first  picture,  39  ;  his 
tales  in  Oxford  and  Cambridge 
Magazine,  40 ;  his  Defence  of 
Giicnevere,  42  ;  his  Red  House  at 
Upton,  60,  61  ;  in  Iceland,  153  ; 
at  Kelmscott,  157,  161  ;  letter  to 
W.  B.  S.  on  publication  of  Poems, 
212,  213  ;  on  Harvest  Home,  309 

Morse,  S.,  ii.  326 

Motherwell,  W.,  i.  79 

Midler,  ]\Iax,  on  Thomas  Dixon,  ii. 

Munro,  Alex.,  sculptor,  makes  me- 
dallion of  W.  B.  S.,  i.  307  ;  letters 
from,  320  ;  ii.  30  ;  busts  of  Sir 
Walter  and  Lady  Trevelyan,  68 


Nettleship,  artist,  ii.  196,  197 
Newcastle    in    1844,    i.    182,    183  ; 
amusements  of  society  there,  185, 
186  ;  art  manufactory,  189 
Nichol,  Professor,  astronomer,  i.  218, 
219,  334;  ii-   I 


Oliphant,  Francis,  i.  188 
Ord,  Walker,  i.  78 
Orsini,  i.  255 
O'Shaughnessy,  ii.   189,  196 

Park,  Patric,  sculptor,  i.  161,  162  ; 
his  busts  of  Haydon  and  Napoleon 
IIP,  164  ;  his  unlucky  generosity, 

Parliament  Square,  Edinburgh,  en- 
graver's shop  there,  i.  13,  43-50  ; 
its  "little  masters,"  45  ct  seq.; 
burnt  in  1824,  49 

Patmore,  Coventry,  i.  252,  297,  306  ; 
ii.  31 



Paton,  Sir  Noel,  ii.  206 

Pattison,  Mrs.  Mark  (Lady  Dilke),  ii. 

Paul,  Emperor,  relic  of  his  murder  at 
St.  Petersburg,  i.  212 

Payne,  John,  ii.  197 

Penkill  Castle,  ii.  57  ;  description 
of'  73  >  paintings  on  staircase  of, 
83,  108,  116  ;  way  of  life  at,  291- 

Perseverance  and  genius,  ii.  217-20 

Poems,  on  Blake's  designs,  i.  23  ; 
Little  Boy,  41  ;  Pillars  of  Seth, 
57-60  ;  Rosabell,  135  ;  on  W.  A. 
C.  Shand,  204  ;  on  his  brother's 
death,  261  ;  sonnet  to  his  brother, 
266 ;  "  My  Mother,"  sonnets,  274, 
275;  The  Foxglove,  ii.  122;  On 
Going  to  Live  in  Bellevue  House, 
123  ;  Dedicatio  Postica,  209  ;  New 
Yearns  Eve,  294,  295  ;  to  Miss 
Boyd,  anniversary,  301  ;  yEtat. 
70,  319,  320 

Poetry,  causes  of  its  popularity  ob- 
scure, i.  254 

Poet'' s  Harvest  Home,  ii.  303 

Poets,  the  rising  generation  in  1S75, 
ii.  192-201 

Poole,  painter,  i.  1 1 1 

Pre-Raphaelites,  i.  248  et  seq. ;  first 
knowledge  of  the  name,  277  ;  the 
P. R.B.'s  and  their  principles,  277- 
87  ;  the  Germ,  282  et  seq.  ;  short 
history  of  the  brotherhood,  323- 
26  ;  ill-used  by  the  Academy,  ii. 


Pequiescat  IX  Pace,  origin  of,  ii. 

Richardson,   Anna,   Quaker,    i.   351- 

Richardson,  T.  M.,  Newcastle  painter, 

i.  207 
Roberts,  David,  scene-painter,  i.  81 
"  Roman  Wall,  Building  of,"  picture, 

ii.  7,  38 
Ronge,  Johannes,  and   Holy  Coat  of 
Treves,    i.    336-40 ;    letter    from, 


Rosabell  Bonally,  acquaintance  with, 
i.  loi  ;  poem  on  subject  of,  135  ; 
Rossetti  and  this  poem,  289,  305, 

Rosch,  compared  with  Bewick,  i. 

Rossetti,  Christina,  i.  247 ;  a  draw- 
ing pupil,  279  ;  verses  in  acknow- 
ledgment of  Ha7-vest  Home,  317 

Rossetti,  Dante  Gabriel,  autobio- 
grapher's  third  "friend,"  i.  88; 
first  letter  from,  in  1847,  243  ; 
sends  "Songs  of  the  Art-Catholic," 
245 ;  in  Holman  Hunt's  studio, 
248 ;  early  pictures,  278,  281  ; 
visits  Newcastle,  287  ;  fascination 
of,  289  ;  walks  back  through 
Shakespeare  country,  letters,  291- 
93  ;  his  opinion  of  "  Self-Culture," 
293;  news.- letters,  301-3;  epi- 
taph on  Scotus,  305  ;  develop- 
ment, 314,  315  ;  and  Miss  Siddal, 
316;  proposes  sketching  club, 
325  ;  and  Ruskin,  ii.  8-10  ;  news- 
letter in  1855,  31,  32  ;  criticism  of 
"St.  Cuthbert  "  picture,  35,  36; 
designs  woodcuts  for  Tennyson's 
poems,  35,  36  ;  first  impressions  of 
W.  Morris  and  Burne -Jones,  37  ; 
paintings  in  the  Oxford  Union, 
40-42  ;  his  habits  of  painting, 
43-45  ;  succeeds  in  life-size  paint- 
ing' 5I>  52;  letters  after  his 
marriage,  62,  63  ;  his  picture 
"Found,"  63;  his  wife's  death, 
65  ;  spiritualism,  66  ;  at  Penkill 
in  1868  and  1869,  1 08-18  ;  is 
persuaded  to  resume  poetry,  109  ; 
in  Bennan's  Cave,  .115;  deter- 
mines to  recover  the  buried  MS., 
117;  letters  to  W.  B.  S.  from 
Kelmscott,  127-63  ;  his  sleepless- 
ness, 139;  the  attack  on  "The 
Fleshly  School,"  161  ;  how 
affected  by,  168,  171  ;  his  ill- 
ness, 172;  at  Stobhall,  173.; 
letters  from,  175,  176;  at  Kelm- 
scott, recovered,  178  ;  mysterious 
letter  from,  179  ;  nonsense  verses, 
1S7-89;  urges  publication  of 
poems,  202,  203  ;  letter  on  publica- 
tion, 209-11  ;  letter  from  Bognor, 
213-16;  broken  health,  304-308; 
death,  315 

Rossetti,  W.  M.,  visits  Newcastle  in 
184S,  i.  277  ;  sonnet  in  Germ, 
324  ;  news-letter  in  June  1855,  ii. 
30,  31  ;  in  1856,  32-35  ;  edits 
Walt   Whitman,    33,   267  ;    news- 



letter  in  1858,  47;  letter  ou 
Sordello,  etc.,  58;  takes  part  in 
a  seance,  80 ;  anxiety  about  his 
brother,  174;  one  of  a  party  in 
Italian  tour,  182;  letters  on  his 
brother's  death,  315-17 
Ruskin,  J.,  ii.  5,  7-12 

SCHLi  EM  ANN'S ' '  Owl-headed  Vases," 
ii.  2S8-90 

Schoelcher,  Senator,  Le  Vrai  St. 
Paul,  ii.  252 

Scotland's  Skaith,  i.  21 

Scots  Magazine,  i.   13,   18,  70 

Scott,  David,  early  influences  on  his 
art,  i.  15,  17  ;  Memoir  of,  26, 
267, '268;  in  Rome,  83;  contri- 
butes to  Souvenir,  92  ;  in  Cartoon 
Competition  for  Houses  of  Parlia- 
ment, 168,  169,  171  ;  his  egoism, 
1 7 1  ;  his  specimen  of  fresco,  216; 
his  studio,  habits,  and  character, 
216-19  ;  last  illness  and  death, 
259,  260;  Reqiciem,  261 ;  his  char- 
acter, 262-69;  "Maxims  from 
Italy,"  265;  Rossetti  concerning, 

Scott,  George,  uncle  of  W.  B.  S.,  i. 
29-3 1  ;  his  nursery  rhymes,  30  ; 
his  game  eggs,  71  ;  his  last  days, 

Scott,  Mrs.  (L.  M.  N.),  i.  118; 
takes  part  in  religious  inquiries, 
332  ;  letter  from,  ii.  59,  60  ;  327 

Scott,  Robert,  engraver,  his  shop,  i. 
i3>  43-50  '■>  personal  appearance, 
28  ;  his  Sunday  books,  28  ;  his 
religious  services,  i.  27,  32  ;  his 
teaching,  38,  39  ;  his  financial 
troubles,  61-63 
Scott,  Robert,  brother  of  W.  B.  S.,  i. 
27  ;  boyish  adventure,  65  ;  early 
death,  67  ;  return  from  West 
Indies,  99 
Scott,  Sir  Walter,  his  strong  language, 

i.  70  ;  interview  with,  72-75 
Scott,  William  Bell,  birthplace,  i.  7- 
12,  31  ;  home  education,  12-24  '■> 
his  father's  household,  25-32  ;  his 
mother,  25  ;  his  uncle  George,  29- 
31  ;  reminiscences  of  childhood, 
33-42  ;    early  religious  influences. 

53  ;    first  attempts  at   poetry,  56- 
60 ;     his    first    picture,    77  ;    art 
studies,    80-Si  ;    his  engraving   of 
"The  Martyrs' Tombs,"  83;    his 
early     friends,    87  ;     poetic    and 
philosophic  studies,  88,  89  ;  essays 
in    ballad    and    octosyllabic,    89  ; 
contributes     to    Edinburgh     Uni- 
versity Souvenir,   91,   92 ;    leaves 
Edinburgh  in   1837,  99,  100;  his 
equipment  and  hopes,   102,    103  ; 
"painter's    etchings,"    105;     first 
picture  in  London,  historical,  108  ; 
his    horoscope,    119;    makes    ac- 
quaintance of  Leigh  Hunt  and  G. 
H.    Lewes,   123-34;    his   "Prince 
Legion,"  131;   his  poem  of  Ti'^i'a- 
bell,   135  ;    takes  part  in  Cartoon 
Competition  for  Houses  of  Parlia- 
ment,   168  ;   appointed  to  master- 
ship in  School  of  Design  at  New- 
castle, 1844,    173  ;  his  motives  in 
accepting,    173,  251  ;  his  work  as 
art  master,  I'j'j  et  seq.  ;    publishes 
Antiquarian       Gleanings,       220 ; 
anatomical    studies     at     Durham, 
220 ;     landscape    haunts    in     the 
North,    220-28  ;     unaffected      by 
Continental   tours,    231  ;    heresies 
on    Italian     art,     231-33  ;     writes 
77ie    Year    of    the    World,     234  ; 
first  letter   from  D.   G.    R.,  243  ; 
makes   acquaintance    of   the   Ros- 
setti   family,     247  ;     of    Holman 
Hunt,  248  ;    his   brother's  death, 
259  ;    his    mother's    death,    273  ; 
early    autobiography    (destroyed), 
276  ;     visits     Paris,     299  ;     gives 
"  Half  -  hour     Lectures     on     the 
Arts,"     330  ;     inquires    into     in- 
fluence   of   religion    on    character, 
331-56;    invited    to    Wallington 
Hall,    ii.    3  -  6  ;    pictures    commis- 
sioned  illustrative   of  Border  his- 
tory,   7  ;    makes    acquaintance    of 
Miss  Boyd,  56,  57  ;    first  visit  to 
Penkill    Castle,     59  ;    returns    to 
London,  1864,    70;   reflections'on 
town  and  country  life,  70  ;  paints 
Keramic      Gallery      windows      in 
graffito,    107  :     completes     Chevy 
Chase  series,  118;    buys  Bellevue 
House,'^Chelsea,  119  ;  settles  there 
in  1870,  123;   writes  Life  of  A Ibei-t 
Diirer,     193  ;    edits   Burns,    166 ; 



designs  door  for  Lecture  Theatre, 
South  Kensington,  170 ;  visits  Italy, 
182;  publishes  poems  in  1875, 
202  ;  artistic  investigations,  278- 
90;  way  of  life  at  Penkill,  291- 
302  ;  publishes  Foefs  Harvest 
Home,  303;  last  years,  321-34; 
designs  new  hall  for  Penkill,  325  ; 
prepares  Aflennath,  330 

Seddon,  Thomas,  painter,  ii.  34 

Selous,  painter,  i.  169 

Shand,  W.  A.  C,  first  friend,  i.  87  ; 
friendship  at  first  sight,  88  ;  holi- 
day song  by,  95  ;  youthful  plans, 
97  ;  offer  to  De  Quincey,  98  ; 
parting  festivities,  100 ;  his  lin- 
guistic ability,  131  ;  reappears  at 
Newcastle,    202  ;     last    sight    of, 

204  ;  poem  on,  204 
Sharp,  William,  ii.   180 

Shelley,  early  admiration  of,  i.  88  ; 
how  qualified,  89  ;  poem  on,  in 
TaiVs  Magazine,  91  ;  Leigh  Hunt 
and,  128;  at  Lynmouth,  ii.  139- 

Sibson,  Thomas,  early  friend,  i.  87  ; 
career,     153-56  ;     at     Newcastle, 

205  ;  his  genius  in  art,  "206  ; 
specimen  of  his  design,  207 

Siddal,  E.  E.  (Mrs.  Rossetti),  i.  315, 
316  ;  with  D.  G.  R.  in  Paris, 
ii.  30;  marriage  to  D.  G.  R., 
58,    60,    62,    63  ;    death    of,    64, 

Siddons,  Mrs.,  Plenning's  anecdote 
of,  i.  1 1 6 

Skipsey,  the  pitman  poet,  ii.  269 

Spiritualism,  ii.  235 

"Spur  in  the  Dish,  The,"'  picture, 
ii.  7 

Steell,  Sir  John,  sculptor,  ii.  2 

Stobhall,  ii.  173 

Stoddart's  Death  Wake,  i.  80,  1 00 

Swinburne,  A.  C.,  first  met  at  Wal- 
lington,  ii.  14-18;  portrait  painted 
by  W.  B.  S.,  18;  his  physical 
courage,  19  ;  his  dislike  of  Louis 
Napoleon,  46  ;  a  holiday  at  Tyne- 
mouth,  68  ;  first  in  W.  B.  S.'s 
triple  dedication,  212 ;  dedicates 
poems  to  W.  B.  S.,  336  ;  me- 
morial verses,  339 

Swinburne,  Sir  John,  anecdote  of,  ii. 
19  ;  death  of,  55 

Symbolism  in  Art,  ii.  283-89 

TadEiMA,  Alma,  visits  Penkill,  ii. 
203  ;  contributes  etchings  to  \V. 
B.  S.'s  poems,  203,  204;  his 
mastery  of  his  art,  205,  216 ;  letter 
from,  207 

Tennyson,  Alfred,  Lord,  i.  297  ;  a 
political  forecast,  300  ;  Woolner's 
bust  of,  ii.  29,  35  ;  D.  G.  R.'s 
woodcuts  for  poems,  35,  36 

Thomson  of  Duddingston,  clerical 
amateur  painter,  i.  83 

Trevelyan,  Lady  Pauline,  reviews 
Memoir,  ii.  3  ;  first  visit  to,  3- 
6 ;  W.  M.  R.  and,  34 ;  letters 
from,  51-56;  her  character,  256; 
selections  from  her  writings,  257 

Trevelyan,  Sir  Walter,  ii.  3,  5  ;  W. 
M.  R.  and,  34  ;  death  of,  253  ; 
his  bequest  to  National  Gallery, 
259-61  ;  bequest  of  his  cellar  to 
Dr.  Richardson,  261-63 

Turner,  J.  M.  W. ,  anecdote  of,  i. 
84;  ii.  9;  in  1837,  i.  106;  on 
ruin  of  Royal  Academy,  i.  109  ; 
private  sketches,  251 

Valentine,  Dr.,  ii.  321 
Varley,  the  astrologer,  i.   1 1 8 


Wade,  Thomas,  poet,  i.  253 

Wailes,  W.,  Newcastle  art  manu- 
facturer, i.  189-91. 

Wallington  Hall,  first  visit  to,  ii.  3- 
6  ;  pictures  there,  7  '■>  exhibited  in 
London,  38,  66  ;  decoration  of,  67 

"Wallace,"  picture  of,  i.  231  ;  ii. 

Ward,  E.  M.,  i.  iii,  168 

Watts,  Theodore,  ii.  180,  213 

Weatherley,  Captain,  Chairman  of 
School  of  Design  at  Newcastle, 
i.  179,  197;  a  Peninsular  story, 

Weingartshofer,  Dr.,  citizen  of  the 
world,  i.  343-47  ;  his  exegesis,  345 

Weir,  W.,  i.  79 

Whitman,    Walt,    Leaves    of  Grass, 



sent  by  W.  B.  S.  to  W.  M.  R.,  ii. 
32,  33  ;  267-69  _ 

Wilkinson,  Garth,  i.  22  ;  his  poetry, 

Wilson,  C.  H.,  Director  of  Scliools 
of  Design,  i.  179,  181 

Wilson,  John,  "Christopher  North," 
advises  W.  B.  S.,  i.  71,  72  ;  Car- 
lyle  concerning,  75  !  ^^•s  after- 
dinner  speaking,  77  ;  at  breakfast, 
78  ;  receives  a  dedication,  83  ;  gives 
opinion  of  a  poem,  89  ;  opinion 
of  Shelley,  91  ;  advice,  100 

Woodchuck,  the,  ii.  159;  epitaph  on, 

Woolner,  T.,  introduces  W.  B.  S.  to 
Carlyle,  i.  269  ;  his  medallion  of 
Carlyle,  270,  another,  ii.  28 ; 
his  renunciation  of  poetry,  i.  271  ; 
My  Beautiful  Lady,  282  ;  goes  to 
Australia,  295  ;  letter  after  his 
return,  305  ;  news-letter  from,  ii. 
29  ;  his  Wentviforth  statue  com- 
mission, 30,  31  ;  central  sculpture 

for  Wallington  Hail,  33,  34,  67  ; 
bust  of  Tennyson,  35  ;  on  W. 
Morris's  poems,  42 

Wordsworth,  not  so  congenial  to  his 
youth  as  Shelley,  i.  88  ;  a  humble 
imitator,  i.  256 

Wornum,  R.  N.,  i.  112  ;  his  wife. 
Miss  Selden,  156  ;  a  Sweden- 
borgian,  160 ;  in  Cartoon  Com- 
petition, 168  ;  lecturer  to  School 
of  Design,  328  ;  death  of,  ii.  244, 
249,  250  ;  his  "  Saul  of  Tarsus," 

Year  of  the  World,  The,  pro- 
jected, i.  100  ;  written,  234  ; 
account  of,  235-38  ;  reception  of, 
238,  239;  letter  from  G.  H.  Lewes 
concerning,  238  ;  from  Emerson, 

Young's  Night  Tkoitghts,  i.  21,  68 


Printed  ly  R.  &  R.   Clark,  Edinhtrg-Ii 

"^7  90 


University  of  California,  San  Diego 


JAN  2  0  1984  ^f::^ 


JAN!^1  1984 


CI  39 

UCSD  Lihr.